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Full text of "William T. G. Morton, M.D. -- Sulphuric ether. 1852 [electronic resource] : Referred to a select committee : Dr. William H. Bissell, of Illinois, chairman : The select committee to whom was referred the memorial of Dr. William T.G. Morton, asking remuneration from Congress for the discovery of the anaesthetic or pain-subduing properties of sulphuric ether"

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Referred  to  a  Select  Committee. 

Dr.  WxiiiiiAM  a.  BissELL,  of  Illinois,  Chairman. 

The  Select  Committee  to  whom  was  referred  the  memorial  of  Dr.  William, 
T.  G.  Morton,  asking  remuneration  from  Congress  for  the  discovery 
of  the  ancBsthetic  or  pain-suhduing  properties  of  sulphuric  ether, 


That  upon  the  suggestion  of  the  memorialist,  that  his  claim  to  the 
diacovery  was  contested  by  Dr.  Charles  T.  Jackson,  of  Boston,  the  chair- 
man addressed  to  him  a  letter,  notifying  him  of  the  proceedings,  and  of 
the  day  when  the  committee  would  begin  the  investigation ;  advising 
him,  that  if  he  desired  to  do  so,  he  was  at  liberty  to  contest  Dr.  Morton's 
application.  The  chairman  received  a  statement  from  Dr.  Jackson,  in 
reply.  Afterwards  a  memorial  from  Dr.  Jackson  was  presented  to 
the  House,  and  referred  to  your  committee.  And  on  the  20th  day  of 
Dec.  1851,  at  a  meeting  held  pursuant  to  notice,  both  parties  appear- 
ed before  your  committee :  Dr.  Morton  by  his  counsel,  J.  M.  Carlisle, 
Esq.,  and  Dr.  Jackson  by  J.  L.  Hayes,  Esq.  In  his  paper  Dr.  Jackson 
presented  objections  to  the  inquiry,  combining,  in  effect,  a  plea  that  the 
matter  was  res  judicata,  and  a  plea  to  the  jurisdiction  of  Congress, 
which  were  discussed  and  considered,  as  preliminary  to  a  general  investi- 
gation.   The  objections  are  embodied  in  the  following  extracts. 

After  averring  that  the  discovery  was  his,  and  his  only,  and  that  he 
alone  gave  it  to  the  world.  Dr.  Jackson  proceeds  as  follows : 

"He,  the  undersigned,  therefore,  distinctly  and  unequivocally  claims 
to  be  the  sole  and  original  discoverer  of  the  anesthetic  and  pain-subdu- 
ing properties  of  sulphuric  ether ;  and  hereby  communicates' the  fact  to 
the  Congress  of  the  United  States,  and  declares  that  his  rights  have  been 
fully  admiited  by  all  the  scientific  societies  that  have  examined  into  the 
claims  of  the  numerous  aspirants  to  the  honor  of  the  discovery,  and  that, 
m  consequence  of  this  result  of  investigations  of  all  the  (Claimant's  pre- 
tensions, the  National  Academy  of  Sciences  of  France  awarded  to  the 


undersigned  "  the  Monthyon  prize  for  the  greatest  medical  discovery," 
and  the  Government  of  France  awarded  to  him  also  the  Cross  of  the 
Legion  of  Honor,  and  the  King  of  Sweden  the  gold  Medal  of  Merit. 
He,  the  undersigned,  therefore,  regards  the  question  of  discovery  settled 
in  the  scientific  world,  and  cannot  but  express  his  surprise,"  &c.,  &-c. 

And,  again,  he  "  begs  that  he  may  be  put  to  no  further  trouble  and 
expense  in  defending  his  scientific  rights  to  the  discovery." 

And,  again,  he  begs  "that  he  may  be  allowed  to  pursue  his  studies  and 
labors  in  peace,  and  not  be  compelled  to  spend  his  valuable  time  in 
waiting  upon  Congress,  merely  for  the  purpose  of  seeing  that  his  rights 
suffer  no  detriment." 

Your  committee  being  unable  to  perceive  the  force  of  these  objections, 
overruled  them,  and  in  the  discharge  of  the  duty  imposed  on  them  by 
the  House,  proceedfed'  with  the  investigation.  A  mass  of  written  and 
printed  statements  was  offered  by  Dr.  Jackson,  tending  to  impeach  the 
character  of  Dr.  Morton,  which  the  latter  requested  should  be  received, 
he  being  allowed  time  to  produce  rebutting  evidence,  and  to  adduce  evi- 
dence on  his  part  impeaching  Dr.  Jackson's  character  for  veracity,  and 
proving  several  cases  in  which  he  had  claimed  the  inventions*  of  others 
as  his  own.  This  your  committee  rejected,  deeming  it  wholly  irrelevant 
to  the  subject  committed  to  them 'by  the  resolution  of  the  House,  and 
leading  to  a  long  and  laborious  trial  of  many  immaterial  issues. 

Their  first  inquiry  was  directed  to  the  question  whether  a  discovery 
had  in  fact  been  made,  important  to  mankind,  and  in  its  importance  and 
value  to  the  American  people  worthy  of  national  recognition  and  reward. 

The  alleged  discovery  consists  in  the  total  annihilation  or  prevention 
of  pain  in  the  most  severe  surgical  operations,  and  in  obsteric  CMses,  by 
the  inhalation  of  the  vapor  of  sulphuric  ether.  It  is  alleged  also  that 
the  pain,  destroying  agent  is  innocent,  producing  no  injurious  conse- 
quences to  the  patient  inhaling  it.  If  this  be  true,  and  it  be  indeed  a 
discovery,  its  national  importance,  its  importance  to  the  human  race,  is 

Intense  pain  is  regarded  by  mankind,  generally,  as  so  serious  an  evil 
that  it  would  have  been  strange  indeed  if  efforts  had  not  been  early 
made  to  diminish  this  species  of  suffering.  The  use  of  the  juice  of  the 
poppy,  henbane,  mandragora,  and  other  narcotic  preparations,  to  effect 
this  object  by  iheir  deadening  influence,  may  be  traced  back  till  it  dis- 
appears in  the  darkness  of  a  highly  remote  antiquity.  Intoxicating 
vapors  were  also  employed,  by  way  of  inhalation,  to  produce  the  same 
effects  as  drugs  of  this  nature  introduced  into  the  stomach.  This  ap- 
pears from  the  account  given  by  Herodotus,  of  the  practice  of  the 
Scythians,  several  centuries  before  Christ,  of  using  the  vapor  of  hemp 
seed  as  a  means  of  drunkenness.  The  known  means  of  stupefaction 
were  very  early  resorted  to,  in  order  to  counteract  pain  produced  by  ar- 
tificial causes.  In  executions,  under  the  horrible  form  of  crucifixion,  so- 
porific mixtures  were  administered  to  alleviate  the  pangs  of  the  victim. 
The  draught  of  vinegar  and  gall,  or  myrrh,  offered  to  the  Savior  in  his 
agony,  was  the  ordinary  tribute  of  human  sympathy  extorted  from  the 
bystander  by  the  spectacle  of  intolerable  anguish. 

That  some  lethean  anodyne  might  be  found  to  assuage  the  torment  of 
surgical  operations  as  they  were  anciently  performed,  cauterizing  the 

•  Magnetic  Telegraph,  &o. 

cut  surfaces,  instead  of  tying  the  arteries,  was  not  only  a  favorite  no- 
tion but  it  liatl  been  in  some  degree,  however  imperfect,  reduced  to  prac- 
tice.' Pliny,  the  naturalist,  who  perished  in  the  erruption  of  Vesuvius, 
which  entombed  the  city  of  Herculaneum,  in  the  year  79,  bears  distinct 
and  decided  testimony  to  this  fact. 

"  It  has  a  soporific  power,"  says  he  in  his  description  of  the  plant 
known  as  the  mandragora  or  circeius— "It  has  a  soporific  power  on  the 
faculties  of  those  who  drink  it.  The  ordinary  potion  is  half  a  cup.  It  is 
drunk  ag^ainst  serpents,  and  before  cuttings  and  puncturings,  lest  they 
should  be  felt."  {Bihitur  et  contra  serpentes,  et  ante  sectiones,  punction- 
csque,  ne  sentiahtur.) 

When  he  comes  to  speak  of  the4)lant  eruca,  called  by  us  the  rocket, 
he  informs  us  that  its  seeds,  when  drank,  infused  in  wine,  by  criminals 
about  to  undergo  the  lash,  produce  a  certain  callousness  or  induration 
of  feeling,  {duriiiam  quondam  contra  sensum  induere.) 

Pliny  also  asserts  that  the  stone  Memphitis,  powdered  and  applied  in  a 
liniment  with  vinegar,  will  stupefy  parts  to  be  cut  or  cauterized,  "for  it 
so  paralyzes  the  part  that  it  feels  no  pain ;  nec  sentit  cruciatum." 

Dioscorides,  a  Greek  physician  of  Cilicia,  in  Asia,  who  was  born  about 
the  time  of  Pliny's  death,  and  who  wrote  an  extensive  work  on  the  ma- 
teria medica,  observes,  in  his  chapter  on  mandragora — 

1.  "Some  boil  down  the  roots  in  wine  to  a  third  part,  and  preserve 
the  juice  thus  procured,  and  give  one  cyathus  of  it  in  sleeplessness  and 
severe  pains,  of  whatever  part ;  also,  to  cause  the  insensibility — to  pro- 
duce the  anesthesia  (poiein  anaisthesian)  of  those  who  are  to  be  cut  or 

2.  "  There  is  prepared,  also,  besides  the  decoction,  a  wine  from  the  bark 
of  the  root,  three  minae  being  thrown  into  a  cask  of  sweet  wine,  and  of 
this  three  cyathi  are  given  to  those  who  are  to  be  cut  or  cauterized,  as  afore- 
said ;  for  being  thrown  into  a  deep  sleep,  they  do  not  perceive  pain." 

3.  Speaking  of  another  variety  of  mandragora,  called  morion,  he  ob- 
serves, "  medical  men  use  it  also  for  those  who  are  to  be  cut  or  cauterized." 

Dioscorides  also  describes  the  stone  Memphitis,  mentioned  by  Pliny, 
and  says  that  when  it  is  powdered  and  applied  to  parts  to  be  cut  or  cau- 
terized, they  are  rendered,  without  the  slightest  danger,  wholly  insensible 
tp  pain.  Matthiolus,  the  commentator  on  Dioscorides,  confirms  his  state- 
ment of  the  virtues  of  mandragora,  which  is  repeated  by  Dodoneus. 
"  Wine  in  which  the  roots  of  mandragora  has  been  steeped,"  says  this 
latter  writer,  "brings  on  sleep,  and  appeases  all  pains,  so  that  it  is  given 
to  those  who  are  to  be  cut]  sawed,  or  burned,  in  any  parts  of  their  body, 
that  they  may  not  perceive  pain." 

The  expressions  used  by  Apuleius,  of  Madaura,  who  flourished  about 
a  century  after  Pliny,  are  still  more  remarkable  than  than  those  already 
quoted  from  the  older  authors.  He  says,  when  treating  of  mandragora, 
"  If  any  one  is  to  have  a  member  mutilated,  burned,  or  sawed,  {mutilan- 
dum,  comhurendum,  vet  serrandum)  let  him  drink  half  an  ounce  with  wine, 
and  let  him  sleep  till  the  member  is  cut  away,  without  any  pain  or  sensation, 
{et  tantum  dormiet,  quousque  abscindatur  membrum  aliquo  sine  dolore  et 

It  was  not  in  Europe  and  in  Western  Asia  alone,  that  these  early  ef- 
forts to  discover  some  letheon  were,  and  attended  with  partial  sue- 


cess.  On  the  opposite  side  of  the  continent,  the  Chinese,  who  have  an- 
ticipated the  Europeans  in  so  many  important  inventions,  as  in  gunpow- 
der, the  mariner's  compass,  printing,  lilhogrnphy,  paper  money,  and  the 
use  of  coal,  seem  to  have  been  quite  as  far  in  advance  of  the  occidental 
world,  in  medical  science.  They  understood,  ages  before  they  were  in- 
troduced into  Christendom,  the  use  of  substances  containing  iodine  for 
the  cure  of  the  goitre,  and  employed  spurred  rye,  ergot,  to  shorten  dan- 
gerously prolonged  labor  in  difficult  accouchments.  Among  the  thera- 
peutic methods  confirmed  by  the  experience  of  thousands  of  years,  the 
records  of  which  they  have  preserved  with  religious  veneration,  the  em- 
ployment of  an  anesthetic  agent  to  paralyze  the  nervous  sensibility  before 
performing  surgical  operations,  is  distinctly  set  forth.  Among  a  consid- 
erable number  of  Chinese  works  on  the  pharmacopaeia,  medicine,  and 
surgery,  in  the  National  Library  at  Paris,  is  one  entitled  Kou-kin-i-tong, 
or  general  collection  of  ancient  and  modern  medicine,  in  fifty  volumes 
qiiarto.  Several  hundred  biographical  notices  of  the  most  distinguished 
physicians  in  China  are  prefixed  to  this  work.  The  following  curious 
passages  occur  in  the  sketch  of  the  biography  of  Hoa-tho,  who  flourish- 
ed under  the  dynasty  of  Wei,  between  the  years  220  and  230  of  our  era. 
"  When  he  determined  that  it  was  necessary  to  employ  acupuncture,  he 
applied  it  in  two  or  three  places ;  and  so  with  the  moxa,  if  that  was  in- 
dicated by  the  nature  of  the  affection  to  be  treated.  But  if  the  disease 
resided  in  parts  upon  which  the  needle,  the  moxa,  or  liquid  medicaments 
could  not  operate,  for  example,  in  the  bones,  or  the  marrow  of  the  bones, 
in  the  stomach,  or  the  intestines,  he  gave  the  patient  a  preparation  of 
hemp,  (in  the  Chinese  language  mayo,)  and  after  a  few  moments,  he  be- 
came as  insensensible  as  if  he  had  been  drunk  or  dead.  Then,  as  the 
case  required,  he  performed  operations,  incisions,  or  amputations,  and 
removed  the  cause  of  the  malady,  then  he  brought  together  and  secured 
the  tissues,  and  applied  liniments.  After  a  certain  number  of  days,  the 
patient  recovered,  loithout  having  experienced  during  the  operation  the 
slightest  pain.  Hoa-tho  has  published,  under  the  title  of  Nei-tchao-thou, 
anatomical  plates,  which  exhibit  the  interior  of  the  human  body,  which 
have  come  down  to  our  times,  and  enjoy  a  great  reputation." 

It  will  be  noticed  that  the  agent  employed  by  Hoa-tho,  which  he  calls 
ma-yo,  hemp  medicine,  and  which  is  called  in  the  annals  of  the  later 
Hans,  mafo-san,  or  hemp  essence  powder,  is  the  extract  of  the  same 
plant  mentioned  by  Herodotus,  twenty-three  centuries  ago,  the  cannabis 
Indica,  the  haschisch  of  the  Arabs,  which  is  now  extensively  cultivated  in 
Hindostan,  for  the  purpose  of  manufacturing  the  substance  called  Bhang, 
to  produce  a  peculiar  species  of  intoxication,  at  first  seductive  and  deli- 
cious, but  followed  in  its  habitual  use  by  terrible  efiects  upon  the  con- 

*  Almost  a  thousand  years  after  the  date  of  the  unmistakable  phrases 
quoted  from  Apuleius,  according  to  the  testimony  of  William  of  Tyre, 
and  other  chroniclers  of  the  wars  for  the  rescue  of  the  holy  sepulchre, 
and  the  fascinating  narrative  of  Marco  Polo,  a  state  of  anaesthesia  was 
induced  for  very  diflferent  purposes.  It  became  an  instrument  in  the 
hands  of  bold  and  crafty  imposters  to  perpetrate  and  extend  the  most  ter- 
rible fanaticism  that  the  world  has  ever  seen. 

The  employment  of  ansesthetic  agents  in  surgical  operations,  was  not 
forgotten  or  abandoned  during  the  period  when  they  were  pressed  into 


the  appalling  service  just  described.  In  the  thirteenth  century,  anacsthe- 
sia  was  produced  by  inhalation  of  an  anodyne  vapor,  in  a  mode  oddly 
forestalling  the  practices  of  the  present  day,  which  is  thus  described  in 
the  (bllowing  passage  of  the  surgical  treatise  of  Theodoric,  who  died  in 
1298.  It  is  the  receipt  for  the  "  spongia  somnifera,"  as  it  is  called  in 
the  rubric : 

"  The  preparation  of  a  scent  for  performing  surgical  operations,  ac- 
cording to  Master  Hugo.  It  is  made  thus :  Take  of  opium  and  the 
juice  oT  unripe  mulberry,  of  hyoscyamus,  of  t-he  juice  of  the  hemlock,  of 
the  juice  of  the  leaves  of  the  mandragora,  of  the  juice  of  the  woody  ivy, 
of  the  juice  of  the  forest  mulberry,  of  the  seeds  of  lettuce,  of  the  seed  of 
the  burdock,  which  has  large  and  round  apples,  and  of  the  water  hemlock, 
each  one  ounce;  mix  the  whole  of  these  together  in  a  brazen  vessel,  and 
then  in  it  place  a  new  sponge,  and  let  the  whole  boil,  and  as  long  as  the 
sun  on  the  dog  days,  till  it  (the  sponge)  consumes  it  all,  and  let  it  be 
boiled  away  in  it.  As  often  as  there  is  need  of  it,  place  this  same 
sponge  into  warm  water- for  one  hour,  and  let  it  be  applied  to  the  nos- 
trils till  he  who  is  to  be  operated  on,  {qui  incidendus  est,)  has  fallen 
asleep ;  and  in  this  state  let  the  operation  be  performed,  {et  sic  fiat 
chirurgia.)  When  this  is  finished,  in  order  to  rouse  him,  place  another 
dipped  in  vinegar,  frequently  to  his  nose,  or  let  the  juice  of  the  roots  of 
fenigreek  be  squirted  into  his  nostrils.    Presently  he  awakens." 

A  French  physician,  residing  in  the  neighborhood  of  Toulouse,  M. 
Dauriol,  asserts  that,  in  the  year  1832,  he  employed  a  method  analogous 
to  that  of  Theodoric,  and  specifies  five  cases  in  which  he  succeeded  in 
performing  painless  operations. 

September  23,  1828,  M.  Girardin  read  a  letter  before  the  Academy  of 
Medicine,  addressed  to  his  Majesty  Charles  X,  by  Mr.  Hickman,  a  sur- 
geon of  London,  in  which  this  surgeon  announces  a  means  of  perform- 
ing the  most  delicate  and  most  dangerous  operations,  without  pro- 
ducing pain  in  the  individuals  submitted  to  them.  This  proceeding 
consists  in  suspending  insensibility  by  the  methodical  introduction  of 
certain  gases  into  the  lungs.  Mr.  Hickman  had  tested  his  proceedings 
by  repeated  experiments  on  animals. 

Guy  de  Ohauliac  and  Brunus,  are  the  only  authors  on  medicine  and 
surgery,  besides  Theodoric,  who,  during  this  period,  allude  to  prophy- 
lactic agents  to  avert  pain.  It  may  be  presumed,  therefore,  that  their 
employment  was  not  generally  very  successful.  Probably  bad  effects, 
such  as  congestion  and  asphyxia,  and  sometimes  ending  in  death,  followed 
their  unskillful  empiricism.  J.  Cannappe,  the  physician  of  Francis  I,  in 
his  work  printed  at  Lyons  in  1532,  Le  Guidon  pour  les  Barbiers  et  les 
Chirurgiens,  the  Surgeon's  and  Barber's  Guide,  describes  the  method  of 
Theodoric  and  his  followers,  as  already  given  above,  and  adds:  "Les 
autres  donnent  opium  a  borie,  et  fontmal,  specialement  s'il  est  jeune  ;  et 
le  aperQoivent,  car  ce  est  avec  une  grande  bataille  de  vertu  animale  et 
naturelle.    J'ai  oui  quilz  encourent  manie,  et  par  consequent  la  mort." 

Thus  far  had  the  superinduction  of  anaasthesia,  as  a  preventive  of  pain, 
pade  its  way  into  surgical  practice  in  the  middle  ages ;  and  even  then 
it  must  have  been  most  beneficial  in  its  influence  in  diminishing  the 
mass  of  human  suff'ering.  Down  to  the  time  when  Ambrose  Par6,  in 
the  sixteenth  century,  suggested  the  application  of  slender  ligaturfes  to 


bleeding  arteries,  to  arrest  the  hemorrhage  of  surgical  wounds,  no  other 
nic.ios  were  employed  to  stem  the  (low  of  blood  after  capital  operations, 
tli.ui  by  scorching  over  the  raw  surface  with  a  red  hot  iron,  or  plunging 
it  into  boiling  pitch,  or  applying  other  strong  potential  cauteries.  "The  • 
horrors  of  the  patient,  and  his  ungovernable  cries,  the  hurry  of  the  oper- 
ators and  assistan1,s,  the  sparkling  of 'the  (heated)  irons,  and  the  hissing 
of  the  blood  against  them,  must  have  made  terrible  scenes,"  says'  Mr. 
John  Bell ;  "and  surgery  must, in  those  days,  have  been  a  horrible  trade." 

Haller,  Deneux,  and  Blandin,  report  cases  of  operations  performed 
upon  patients,  under  the  influence  of  alcoholic  intoxication,  in  obstetric 
and  other  cases,  without  pain ;  and  Richerand  has  suggested  that  this 
expedient  should  be  employed  in  the  management  of  dislocations  difii- 
cult  to  be  reduced.  For  obvious  reasons  it  has  not  been  adopted  by  the 
profession.  Mesmerism,  also,  has  been  the  subject  of  grave  discussions, 
and  of  some  extraordinary  statements,  in  this  connexion ;  but,  whatever 
may  be  thought  of  the  individual  cases  certified  by  witnesses,  it  is  not 
too  much  to  say  that  it  is  not  likely  ever  to  become  a  remedy  of  general 
„  application. 

Opium  has  in  all  ages  been  employed  to  assuage  pain.  Van  Helmont 
calls  it  the  specific  gift  of  the  Creator.  Guy  de  Chauliac  used  it,  and 
many  surgeons  have  followed  his  example  in  their  operations.  Sassard, 
surgeon  of  the  hospital  de  la  Charite,  strongly  recommended  this  prac- 
tice in  the  last  century.  But  the  irregular  action  of  opium,  the  excita- 
bility which  it  sometimes  occasions,  its  bad  effects  upon  the  digestive 
organs  and  the  nervous  system,  and  the  length  of  time  during  which  its 
influence  remains,  are  decisive  objections  to  this  agent.  Dr.  Esdaille  has 
recently  experimented  upon  this  subject  at  Calcutta,  but  the  results  are 
altogether  unfavorable. 

Van  Frieten,  Juvet,  and  Teden,  have  advised  that  mechanical  com- 
pression should  be  employed  to  prevent  pain  in  amputations,  but  this 
expedient  proved  but  partially  effectual,  and  has  serious  inconveniences 
which  require  it  to  be  rejected  without  question. 

The  application  of  ice  also  will  diminish  pain  under  these  circum- 
stances. Baron  Larry,  after  the  battle  of  Eylau,  found  a  remarkable 
insensibility  in  the  wounded  who  suffered  amputations,  owing  to  the  in- 
tense cold.  The  injury  to  the  general  health  of  the  patient  is  not,  how- 
ever, compensated  by  the  imperfect  and  uncertain  success  of  this 

After  the  -great  improvement  brought  about  by  the  introduction  of 
ligatures,  the  inducement  to  seek  for  a  safe  and  effectual  nepenthe, 
though  still  great,  was  vastly  less  than  before.  No  practical  advance 
deserving  to  be  mentioned  was  made  in  this  direction  until  the  great 
discovery  of  the  available  effects  of  sulphuric  ether. 

This  substance  had  been  known  since  the  thirteenth  century.  Its  for- 
mation was  accurately  described  by  Valerius  Cordus  in  the  sixteenth 
century.  Frobenius  first  designated  it  ether,  and  published  an  account 
of  it  in  the  philosophical  transactions  in  1730. 

Its  use  as  a  medical  agent,  first  alluded  to  by  Valerius  Cordus,  and 
mentioned  by  Hoff"man,  Cullen,  Alston,  Lewis,  and  Monroe,  and  other 
writers  of  the  last  century,  has  long  been  familiarly  known.  The  his- 
tory of  its  use  by  inhalation  commenced  with  the  pamphlet  published 
in  1795,  by  Richard  Pearson;  and  several  communications  from  the 
same  Dr.  Pearson  are  to  be  found  in  the  work  of  Dr.  Beddoes  on  Facti- 

tious  Airs  published  at  Bristol,  England,  in  1796.  The  same  work  con- 
tains a  letter  from  one  of  Dr.  Thornton's  patients,  giving  an  account  ol 
his  use  of  ether,  by  Dr.  Thornton's  advice,  in  a  case  oi  pectoral  catarrh. 
He  says  "it  gave  almost  immediate  relief  both  to  the  oppression  and 
pain  ib  the  chest."  On  the  second  trial  he  inhaled  two  spoonsful),  with 
immediate  relief  as  before,  and  I  very  soon  after /e//  asleep."  In  1815, 
Nysten,  in  the  Dictionary  of  Medical  Sciences,  speaks  of  the  inhalation 
of  ether  as  familiarly  known  for  mitigating  pains  in  colic.  For  the  last 
fifty  years  most  therapeutic  authors  mention  its  use  by  inhalation  in 
asthma,  &c.,  as  Duncan,  Murray,  Brande,  ChriStison,  Pereira,  Thompson, 
Barbier,  Wendt,  Vogt,  Sundelin,  &c.  Effects  analogous  to  intoxication, 
when  ether  is  inhaled,  are  stated  by  American  authors,  as  Godman, 
(1822,)  Mitchel,  (1832,)  Professor  Samuel  "Jackson,  (1833,)  Wood  & 
Bache,  (1834,)  Miller,  (1846,  and  early  in  that  year.) 

Dr.'  John  C.  Warren,  in  his  work  on  Etherization,  says :  "  The  general 
properties  of  ether  have  been  known  for  more  than  a  century,  and  the 
effect  of  its  inhalation,  in  producing  exhiliration  and  insensibility,  has 
been  understood  for  many  years,  not  only  by  the  scientific,  but  by  young 
men  in  colleges  and  schools,  and  in  the  shop  of  the  apothecary,  who 
have  frequently  employed  it  for  these  purposes." 

About  a  half  a  century  since.  Sir  Humphrey  Davy,  who  had  acted  as 
an  assistant  to  Dr.  Beddoes,  in  the  commencement  of  his  career,  sug- 
gested the  possibility  that  a  pain-subduing  gas  might  be  inhaled,  as  fol- 
lows:  "  As  nitrous  oxide,  in  its  extensive  operation,  appears  capable  of 
destroying  physical  pain,  it  may  probably  be  used  with  advantage  dur- 
ing surgical  operations  in  Which  no  great  effusion  of  blood  takes  place." 
Researches  on  Nitrous  Oxide,  p.  556.  Upon  this  hint,  Dr.  Horace  Wells, 
of  Hartford,  Connecticut,  in  the  autumn  of  the  year  1844,  experimented 
with  nitrous  oxide  gas,  in  the  extraction  of  teeth ;  but  this  gas  being 
found  on  trial  to  be  unavailable  for  the  desired  purposes,  he  abandoned 
his  experiments  in  December,  1844,  and  tried  none  afterwards. 

Late  in  the  autumn  of  1844,  Dr.  E.  E.  Marcy,  of  Hartford,  Conn.,  as 
appears  from  his  own  p,fiidavit  and  that  of  F.  C.  Goodrich,  of  Hartford, 
suggested  to  Dr.  Wells  to  substitute  sulphuric  ether  for  nitrous  oxide, 
and  informed  him  of  its  known  effects,  and  how  to  make  it.  Marcy 
"administered  the  vapor  of  rectified  sulphuric  ether  in  my  [his]  office  to 
a  young  man ;  *  *  *  and  after  he  had  been  rendered  insensible  to 
pain,  cut  from  his  head  an  encysted  tumor  of  about  the  size  of  an  Eng- 
lish walnut.  The  operation  was  entirely  unattended  with  pain."  Dr. 
Marcy  concluded  that  nitrous  oxide  was  more  safe,  equally  efficacious, 
and  more  easily  administered  than  ether,  and  therefore  to  be  preferred, 
and  retained  that  opinion  to  December,  1849. 

Dr.  E.  R.  Smilie,  of  Boston,  in  October,  1846,  asserted  that  he  had 
employed  successfully  an  etherial  tincture  of  opium  to  subdue  pain  under 
the  knife.  He  states  that  he  applied  this  tincture  by  inhalation  in  the 
spring  of  1844  ;  that  he  opened  a  serious  abscess  on  the  neck  of  the  late 
Mr.  John  Johnson,  while  he  was  rendered  unconscious  of  pain  from  the 
operation  by  this  tincture. 

The  Paris  Medical  Gazette,  of  March,  1846,  gives  an  account  of  re- 
markable experiments  performed  by  M.  Duces,  by  ether,  on  animals,  ex- 
hibiting most  of  the  phenomena  since  witnessed  in  the  human  body. 
Sir  Benjamin  Brodie  tried  it  on  Guinea  pigs,  whom  it  put  to  sleeps  and 
killed.    He  doubted  its  safety. 


Notwithstanding  this  long  series  of  efforts  to  procure  a,  true  nepenthe, 
the  object  still  seemed  unattainable  to  the  wisest  and  boldest  members 
of  the  surgical  profession.  Velpeau,  than  whom  no  higher  authority 
can  be  quoted,  said,  in  1839,  "to  avoid  pain  in  surgical  operations  is  a 
chi  mera  which  it  is  not  allowable  to  pursue  at  the  present  day.  The 
cutting  instrument,  and  pain,  in  operative  medicine,  are  two  words 
which  never  present  themselves  singly  to  the  mind  of  the  patient,  and 
of  which  we  must  necessarily  admit  the  association."  Orfila,  in  his 
Toxicology,  declares  absolute  insensibility  to  pain  under  surgical  opera- 
tions by  etherization,  to  be  a  discovery  entirely  new.  Dr.  J.  C.  Warren 
says,  "  The  discovery  of  a  mode  of  preventing  pain  in  surgical  operations 
has  been  an  object  of  strong  desire  among  surgeons  from  an  early  period. 
In  my  surg?cal  lectures  I  have  almost  annually  alluded  to  it,  and  stated 
the  means  which  I  have  usually  adopted  for  the  attainment  of  the  ob- 
ject. I  have  also  freely  declared  that,  notwithstanding  the  use  of  very 
large  doses  of  narcotic  substances,  this  desideratum  had  never  been  saty 
isfactorily  obtained.  The  successful  use  of  any  article  of  the  materia 
medica  for  this  purpose,  would  therefore  be  hailed  by  me  as  an  allevia- 
tion of  human  suffering."  Finally,  Sir  Benjamin  Brodie,  in  a  discourse  at 
St.  George's  Hospital,  at  so  late  a  date  as  October  1,  1846,  alluding  to 
mesmerism,  said,  "  There  is  no  greater  desideratum,  either  in  medicine , 
or  surgery,  than  to  have  the  means  of  allaying  or  preventing  bodily 
pain,  not  only  in  surgical  operations,  but  in  other  cases  also,  but  there 
is  good  reason  to  apprehend  that  it  has  not  been  reserved  for  the  revival 
of  animal  magnetism  under  a  new  name,  to  accomplish  that  for  which 
all  physicians  and  surgeons  have  been  looking  in  vain,  from  the  days  of 
Hippocrates  down  to  the  present  time."  Testimonials  like  these  might 
be  multiplied  indefinitely,  but  the  names  already  quoted  are  of  those  uni- 
versally recognized  on  both  continents  as  the  most  illustrious  cultivators 
of  medical  science!  The  desideratum  of  which  Brodie  despaired  on  the 
1st  of  October,  1846,  had  been  found,  and  its  efficacy  demonstrated 
within  the  twenty-four  hours  preceding  the  delivery  of  his  lecture.  And 
in  a  fetv  days  after,  the  tidings  were  borne  with  the  full  speed  of  steam 
across  thd>  Atlantic,  and  dispersed  over  Europe  and  Asia,  which  for  two 
thousand  years  had  been  looking  for  it  in  vain. 

This  sketch  of  the  progress  of  human  knowledge  as  to  the  inhalation 
of  sulphuric  ether  and  its  effects,  and  as  to  attempts  to  superinduce 
anaesthesia  by  various  agents  in  ancient  and  modern  times,  though  by 
no  means  scientifically  complete,  is  sufficiently  so  for  the  purpose 
for  which  your  committee  have  introduced  it,  to  show  what  was  and 
what  was  not  known  upon  the  subject  previously  to  the  investigations 
and  experiments  of  this  memorialist. 

Your  committee  are  satisfied,  upon  a  full  and  careful  examination  of 
all  the  evidence  before  them,  that  until  the  30th  of  September,  1846,  it 
was  not  known  that  sulphuric  ether  might  safely  be  inhaled  in  sufficient 
quantity  to  produce  total  insensibility  to  pain  under  the  severest  surgi- 
cal operations.  The  safety  of  this  agent,  its  certainty,  its  efficiency,  are 
now  established  beyond  question,  and  acknowledged  by  the  whole  scien- 
tific world.  This  great  discovery,  by  far  the  noblest  contribution  which 
medical  science  has  made  1o  humanity  within  the  present  century,  and 
with  which,  looking  through  all  ages,  no  other  except  that  of  .Tenner  can 
take  rank,  sprung  to  light  in  the  year  1846,  in  the  State  of  Massachu- 
M>  rts ;  and  the  memorialist,  Dr.  Wm.  T.  G.  Morton,  claims  it  as  his  own. 


Certain  it  is,  he  was  the  first  who  exhibited  it  to  the  world,  and  the 
only  one  who  publicly  used  or  claimed  it,  until  after  its  reality  and  efh- 
cacv  had  been  fully  established.  The  honor  of  the  discovery,  therefore, 
must  be  awarded  to  him,  unless  some  one  show,  by  satisfactory  evidence 
an  older  and  a  better  title.  From  the  30th  of  September,  1840,  until 
the  2d  day  of  January,  1847,  during  which  time  this  discovery  passed 
successfully,  the- experimentum  crucis,  Dr.  Morton  was  in  full,  and  sole, 
and  undisputed  possession.  For  a  time,  he  held  the  operative  agent  as 
a  secret,  but  at  last  disclosed  it,  by  letter,  to  the  faculty  of  the  Medical 
Hospital  at  Boston,  with  a  view  to  its  trial,  in  what  is  called  in  surgery 
a  capital  case.  It  was  not  until  some  time  after  this  trial  had  been  made, 
and  proved  successful,  that  a  claim  was  publicly  set  up  by  any  one  to 
the  honor  or  a  share  in  the  honor  of  the  discovery. 

The  account  given  by  Dr.  Morton  of  the  circumstances  which  direct- 
ed his  mind  to  the  investigation,  is  simple  and  natural,  and  in  every  step 
corroborated  by  some  marked  circumstnnce,  proved  by  the  testimony  of 
one  or  more  disinterested  witnesses.  A  narrative  such  as  his,  so  sup- 
ported, goes  far  to  sustain  the  title  which  possession,  undisputed  for  a 
time,  would  have  given  him.  It  was  prepared  by  him,  and  presented  to 
the  Academy  of  Arts  and  Sciences  at  Paris,  by  M.  Arago,  in  July,  1847. 
Notwithstanding  its  length,  we  have  thought  proper  to  insert  it  entire. 


"In  the  summer  of  1844,  being  in  the  practice  of  dentistry,.. and  desir- 
ous to  improve  myself  in  chemical  and  medical  knowledge,  I  studied  in 
the  office  of  Dr.  Charles  T.  Jackson,  of  Boston,  and,  in  order  to  employ 
my  time  to  the  utmost  advantage,  I  resided  in  his  family.  One  day,  in 
casual  conversation  upon  my  profession  of  dentistry,  I  spoke  of  the  ope- 
ration of  destroying  the  nerve  of  a  tooth,  and  remarked  that  there  was 
always  doubt  whether  the  tooth  could  be  restored  to  usefulness,  inas- 
much as  the  arsenic  produced  an  irritation,  and  left  a  soreness  often  per- 
manent. Dr.  Jackson  said,  in  a  humorous  manner,  that  I  must  try  some 
of  his  tooth-ache  drops,  and  proceeded  to  tell  me  that,  at  a  time  when  he 
practised  medicine,  he  occasionally  extracted  teeth  for  particular  patients, 
and  that  in  one  instance  a  patient  who  could  not  summon  courage  for 
the  operation  asked  him  to  apply  something  to  alleviate  the  pain.  He 
applied  ether,  atul  with  success,  for  a  few  days  afterwards  a  friend  of 
this  patient  called  to  obtain  some  of  the  'tooth-ache  drops,'  as  he  called 
them;  but  Dr.  Jackson,  not  wishing  to  be  troubled  with  dental  business, 
told  him  he  had  none.  Dr.  Jackson  then  added,  that  as  this  ether  might 
be  applied  with  advantage  to  sensitive  teeth,  he  would  send  me  some. 
The  conversation  then  turned  upon  the  effect  of  ether  upon  the  system, 
and  he  told  me  how  the  students  at  Cambridge  used  to  inhale  sulphuric 
ether  from  their  handkerchiefs,  and  that  it  intoxicated  them,  making 
them  reel  and  stagger.  He  gave  no  further  intimation  of  the  effect  of 
ether,  or  of  the  manner  of  applying  it.  I  may  add  that  Dr.  Jackson  has 
confirmed  my  account  of  this  conversation  in  his  own  statement  to  Dr 

"In  a  few  days  after  this  conversation.  Dr.  .Jackson  sent  me  a  bottle  of 
chloric  ether,  highly  rectified,  as  he  had  offered.  At  the  same  time  he 
sent  a  bottle  to  two  other  dentists  of  high  respectability  in  Boston.  J 
made  an  experiment  with  this  ether  in  destroying  the  sensibility  of  a 


valuable  tooth  of  a  patient,  Miss  ,  by  direct  application,  telling 

her  that  the  operation  would  be  slow.  I  was  obliged  to  apply  it  several 
tinaes,  but  in  tne  end  the  sensibility  seemed  to  be  removed,  and  the  tooth 
is  now,  to  my  knowledge,  in  a  useful  condition. 

"  About  this  time  the  wife  and  aunt  of  Dr.  Jackson  were  under  my 
treatment  for  dental  purposes,  and  it  was  necessary  to  extract  teeth  in 
each  case,  the  operation  being  painl'ul  and  the  ladies  showing  an  unusual 
degree  of  sensitiveness.  The  last  named  lady,  in  particular,  before  the 
extracting  of  each  tooth,  remained  several  hours  in  the  operating  chair, 
unable  to  summon  courage  to  endure  the  operation,  and  begging  to  be 
mesmerized,  or  that  I  would  give  her  something  to  make  her  insensible. 
Dr.  Jackson  was  present  and  made  efforts  to  encourage  the  lady,  but 
did  not  suggest  any  mode  of  producing  insensibility.  His  sugaiestions 
had  not  gone  beyond  the  direct  application  of  ether,  in  the  same  manner 
that  laudanum  and  other  nai'colics  have  always  been  applied  to  sensitive 

"The  successful  application  I  had  made  of  the  ether  in  destroying  the 
sensibility  of  a  tooth,  together  with  what  Dr.  Jackson  told  me  of  its  effects 
when  inhaled  by  the  students  at  college,  awakened  my  attention,  and  hav- 
ing free  access  to  Dr.  Jackson's  books,  I  began  to  read  on  the  subject  of  its 
effects  upon  the  animal  system.  I  became  satisfied  that  there  was  nothing 
new  or  particularly  dangerous  in  the  inhaling  of  ether,  that  it  had  long 
been  the  toy  of  professors  and  students,  known  as  a  powerful  anti-spas- 
modic, anodyne,  and  narcotic,  capable  of  intoxicating  and  stupefying, 
when  taken  in  sufficient  quantity.  I  found  that  even  the  apparatus  for 
inhaling  it  was  described  in  some  treatises,  but  in  most  cases  it  was  de- 
scribed as  inhaled  from  a  saturated  sponge  or  handkerchief.  Having 
some  of  the  ether  left  which  Dr.  Jackson  had  sent  me,  I  inhaled  it  from 
a  handkerchief,  but  there  was  not  enough  to  produce  a  greater  effect 
than  exhilaration  followed  by  headache. 

"While  investigating  this  subject  I  was  taken  quite  ill,  and  it 
being  the  middle  of  summer,  I  was  advised  by  my  physician  to  go  into 
the  country.  I  took  with  me  from  Dr.  Jackson's  library,  and  obtained 
in  other  ways,  several  books  treating  on  this  and  other  subjects.  1  spent 
two  months  at  the  residence  of  my  father-in-law,  in  Connecticut.  While 
there  I  procured  ether  from  the  druggist's,  and  made  experiments  upon 
birds  and  other  animals,  endeavoring  to  get  them  under  the  effect  of  in- 
halation from  it.  These  experiments  produced  no  satisfactory  result, 
and  they  being  known  among  my  friends,  I  was  mortified  and  vexed, 
and  bottled  up  the  subjects,  where  they  remain  to  this  day. 

"In  the  autumn  I  returned  to  Boston,  and  finding  that  my  business, 
owing  to  its  interi  uption,  required  my  constant  attention,  I  was  not  able 
to  pursue  the  investigation  at  that  time. 

"In  the  course  of  the  winter  (1844-5)  Dr.  Horace  Wells,  of  Hartford, 
Conn.,'  a  dentist,  and  formerly  my  partner,  came  to  Boston,  and  desired 
me  to  aid  him  in  procuring  an  opportunity  to  administer  the  nitrous  ox- 
ide gas,  which  he  said  he  believed  would  destroy  or  greatly  alleviate 
pain  under  surgical  operations.  I  readily  consented,  and  introduced  him 
to  Dr.  George  Hay  ward,  an  eminent  surgeon,  who  oflered  to  permit  the  ex- 
periment, but  as  the  earliest  operation  was  not  to  be  performed  under  two 
or  three  days,  we  did  not  wait  for  it,  but  went  to  Dr.  Warren,  whom  we 
found  engaged  with  his  class.    He  told  us  that  his  students  were  prepa- 


ring  to  inhale  it  that  evening;  for  sport,  and  offered  to  announce  the  pro- 
posal to  them,  and  ask  them  to  meet  us  at  the  college.  In  the  evening 
Dr.  Wells  and  myself  went  to  the  hall,  and  I  took  my  instruments.  Dr. 
Wells  administered  the  gas,  and  extracted  a  tooth,  but  the  patient  scream- 
ed from  pain,  and  the  spectators  laughed  and  hissed.  The  meeting  broke 
up,  and  we  were  looked  upon  as  having  made  ourselves  very  ridiculous. 
I  saw  nothing  more  of  Dr.  Wells,  but  he  left  my  instruments  at  my  of- 
fice very  early  the  next  morning,  and  went  directly  home.  In  July,  being 
again  in  Connecticut,  I  called  on  Dr.  Wells,  and  we  spent  some  time  in 
adjusting  our  former  partnership  accounts.  He  had  then  given  up  den- 
tistry, and  was  engaged  in  conducting  an  exhibition  of  birds,  which  he 
said  insured  him  better  health.  I  went  with  him  to  the  office  of  Dr.  Riggs, 
where  I  spoke  of  the  gas,  and  asked  them  to  give  some  to  me  ;  but  Dr. 
Wells  gave  me  to  understand  that  he  had  abandoned  the  experiment, 
thinking  it  could  have  no  practical  value. 

"In  the  autumn  of  1845,  I  returned  to  my  business,  which  had  now 
become  almost  exclusively  mechanical  dentistry,  or  plate  work,  requi- 
ring me  often  to  extract  a  great  number  of  teeth  at  a  time.  Many  of 
my  patients  suffered  extremely,  and  some  were  obliged,  as  is  the  expe- 
rience of  every  dentist,  to  postpone  or  abandon  the  supplying  full  sets 
of  teeth.  I  had,  therefore,  everything  to  call  my  attention  to  the  destroy- 
ing or  mitigating  of  pain  under  these  operations,  and  great  motive  to 
induce  me  to  follow  up  the  subject.  Finding  that  when  closed  up  in  a 
hollow  tooth,  and  sealed  with  wax,  ether  would  gradually  destroy  the 
sensibility  of  the  part,  I  reasoned  that  perhaps  when  inhaled  it  might 
destroy  or  greatly  alleviate  sensibility  to  pain  generally. 

"In  the  spring  of  1846,  Thomas  R.  Spear  came  to  study  with  me,  and 
hearing  me  converse  upon  the  subject,  he  said  he  had  inhaled  ether  at 
the  Lexington  Academy,  where  he  was  educated,  and  described  to  me 
its  effects.    This  increased  my  interest  in  the  subject,  and  I  determined 
as  soon  as  the  pressure  of  the  spring  business  was  over,  to  devote  my- 
self to  it.    In  the  mean  time  I  tried  an  experiment  upon  a  water  spaniel 
inserting  his  head  in  a  jar  having  sulphuric  ether  at  the  bottom.  This 
was  done  in  the  presence  of  two  persons  at  myiiouse  in  West  Needham 
where  I  reside  during  the  summer  months.    After  breathing  the  vapor 
for  some  time,  the  dog  completely  wilted  down  in  my  hands.    I  then  re- 
moved the  jar.    In  about  three  minutes  he  aroused,  yelled  loudly,  and 
sprung  some  ten  feet  into  a  pond  of  water.  ' 

"  Immediately  after  this  experiment,  I  waited  on  Dr.  Granville  G.  Hay- 
den,  a  young  dentist,  told  him  my  purpose,  and  made  an  agreement  with 
him  to  come  to  my  office  and  rake  charge  of  my  business,  that  I  might 
devote  myself  more  exclusively  to  this  subject.  The  agreement  was 
drawn  by  R.  H.  Dana,  Jr.  Esq.,  to  whose  letter  in  the  appendix  I  take 
the  liberty  to  refer  the  Academy  in  this  connexion.  As  soon  as  Dr. 
Hayden  became  acquainted  with  my  business,  I  began  to  devote  myself 
to  my  experiments.  I  inhaled  some  chloric  ether  and  morphine  the 
effect  of  which  was  drowsiness  followed  by  lassitude  and  headache. 

"  Early  in  August  I  asked  Dr.  Hayden  to  procure  me  a  four-ounce  n'hial 
of  sulphuric  ether  from  Mr.  Burnett;  a  drqggist  much  relied  upon  bv 
chemists.    He  did  so,  and  I  tried  to  induce  him  to  take  it.    As  he  de- 
clined, I  took  half  of  it  into  the  country  to  try  again  upon  my  do^ 
Just  as  I  had  got  it  ready,  the  dog  sprang  and  threw  over  the  jar    I  feJt 


vexed,  and  resolved  to  take  it  myself,  and  did  so,  the  next  day,  at  my 
office.  I  inhaled  from  my  handkerchief  all  the  ether  that  was  left,  but 
was  not  completely  lost,  yet  thought  myself  so  far  insensible  that  1  be- 
lieved that  a  tooth  could  have  been  drawn  with  but  litt  le  pain  or  consci- 
ousness, I  was  unwilling  to  send  to  Burnett's  again  for  the  same  arti- 
cle, he  being  a  near  neighbor,  and  his  young  men  well  acquainted  with 
mine,  lest  the  knowledge  of  my  experiments  should  get  abroad.  I  ac- 
cordingly sent  a  student,  William  P.  Leavitt,  to  druggists  in  a  different 
part  of  the  city.  Brewers,  Stevens  and  Co.,  a  firm  in  excellent  standing, 
with  directions  to  get  sulphuric  ether.  After  some  persuasion  I  induced 
Spear,  who  had  taken  it  at  school,  to  inhale  it.  He  did  so,  and  became 
so  far  insensible  as  to  drop  the  handkerchief,  and  seemed  very  drowsy 
and  torpid.  As  this  passed  off  he  became  excited  and  furious,  so  that 
he  had  to  be  held  down  in  the  chair ;  but  this  subsided,  and  on  coming 
to  he  expressed  himself  delighted  with  his  sensations.  Leavitt  then 
took  it,  with  much  the  same  effect.  1  was  much  discouraged  by  these 
attempts.  The  effects  produced  were  not  such  as  I  sought  for,  nor  were 
the  young  men  affected  in  the  same  manner  that  I  had  been,  and  as  I 
o'bserved  the  dog  to  be.  They  M^ere  much  more  excited  and  less  insen- 
si^jle.  Yet  I  cannot  help  remarking,  in  this  connexion,  that  had  this  sul- 
phuric ether  been  pure  and  highly  rectified,  I  should  have  demonstrated, 
its  effects  then,  instead  of  at  the  subsequent  period  in  September.  This 
ether  has  since  been  analyzed,  as  appears  by  the  affidavits  in  the  ap- 
pendix, and  found  to  contain  a  large  portion  of  alcohol,  sulphur  acids, 
and  other  impurities. 

"  This  experiment  was  early  in  August ;  and  it  being  hot  weather,  and 
I  being  somewhat  out  of  health,  I  w^ent  into  the  country,  and  abandoned 
the  experiments  until  the  middle  of  September.  With  the  autumn  and 
the  restoration  of  health,'  my  ambition  led  me  to  resume  my  experi- 
ments; and  I  mentioned  to  Di'.  Hayden  that  I  feared  there  was  so  much 
difference  in  the  qualities  of  ether,  that  in  so  delicate  a  matter  there 
would  be  great  difficulty  in  bringing  about  any  generally  useful  and  re- 
liable results. 

"  Thinking  that  a  surer  effect  might  be  produced  by  inhaling  the  ether 
through  some  apparatus,  I  called  repeatedly  on  Mr.  Wightman,  a  phi- 
losophical instrument-maker,  for  the  purpose  of  procuring  or  contriving 
an  apparatus.  While  examining  his  bags  for  inhaling  nitrous  oxide  gas, 
the  thought  struck  me  that  I  could  put  the  ether  into  one  of  these,  and 
by  making  an  opening  to  be  closed  by  a  valve,  for  the  admission  of  at- 
mospheric air,  could  convert  it  into  an  inhaling  apparatus.  Upon  sec- 
ond thought  I  had  an  impression  that  ether  would  dissolve  India  rubber, 
and  put  the  question  to  Mr.  Wightman.  He  thought  it  would.  I  then 
put  the  same  question  as  to  oil  silk.  He  said  he  did  not  know,  but  ad- 
vised me  to  consult  a  chemist,  and  named  Dr.  Jackson.  I  took  from 
Mr.  Wightman  a  glass  tunnel,  purchased  an  India  rubber  bag  on  my 
way,  and  returned  to  my  office.  I  then  sent  Leavitt  to  Dr.  Gay,  a  che- 
mist,'to  ask  the  simple  question  whether  ether  would  dissolve  India  rub- 
ber.' He  returned,  saying  that  Dr.  Gay  was  not  in.  In  the  meantime  I 
became  satisfied  that  the  bottle  and  glass  I  had  were  not  large  enough 
for  my  purposes,  and  not  wishing  to  go  to  unnecessary  expense,  I  said 
to  Dr.  Hayden  that  I  would  borrow  a  gas-bag  from  Dr.  Jackson's  labor- 
atory.   He  then  suggested  to  me  to  ascertain  from  Dr.  Jackson  some- 


thing  as  to  the  different  qualities  and  preparations  of  elher,  with  which 
he  said  chemists  were  always  familiar.  I  approved  of  the  suggestion, 
but  feared  D,r.  Jackson  might  guess  what  I  was  experimenting  upon, 
and  forestall  me.  I  went  to  Dr.  Jackson's,  therefore,  to  procure  a  gas- 
bag, also  with  the  intention  of  ascertaining  something  more  accurately 
as ''to  the  different  preparations  of  ether,  if  I  should  find  I  could  do  so 
without  setting  him  upon  the  same  track  of  experiment  with  myself. 
I  am  aware  that  by  this  admission  I  may  show  myself  not  to  have  been 
possessed  by  the  most  disinterested  spirit  of  philosophic  enthusiasm, 
clear  of  all  regard  for  personal  rights  or  benefits;  but  it  is  enough  for 
me  to  say  that  I  felt  I  had  made  sacrifices  and  run  risks  for  this  object, 
that  I  believed  myself  to  be  close  upon  it,  yet  where  another,  with  better 
opportunities  for  experimenting,  availing  himself  of  my  hints  and  labors, 
might  take  the  prize  from  my  grasp. 

"I  asked  Dr.  Jackson  for  his  gas-bag.  He  told  me  it  was  in  his  house. 
I  went  for  it,  and  returned  through  the  laboratory.  He  said,  in  a  laugh- 
ing manner,  '  Well,  Doctor,  you  seem  to  be  all  equipped,  minus  the  gas.' 
I  replied,  in  the  same  manner,  that  perhaps  there  would  be  no  need  of 
having  any  gas,  if  the  person  who  took  it  could  only  be  made  to  believe 
there  was  gas  in  it,  and  alluded  to  the  story  of  the  man  who  died  from 
being  made  to  believe  that  he  was  bleeding  to'  death,  there  being  in  fact 
nothing  but  water  trickled  upon  his  leg ;  but  I  had  no  intention  what- 
ever of  trying  such  a  trick.  He  smiled  and  said  that  was  a  good  story, 
but  added,  in  a  graver  manner,  that  I  had  better  not  attempt  such  an  ex- 
periment, lest  I  should  be  set  down  as  a  greater  humbug  than  Wells 
was  with  his  nitrous  oxide  gas.  Seeing  that  here  was  an  opportunity 
to  open  the  subject,  I  said,  in  as  careless  a  manner  as  I  could  assume, 
why  cannot  I  give  the  ether  gas?  He  said  that  I  could  do  so,  and  spoke 
again  of  the  students  taking  it  at  Cambridge.  He  said  the  patient 
would  be  dull  and  stupefied,  that  I  could  do  what  I  pleased  with  him^ 
that  he  would  not  be  able  to  help  himself.  Finding  the  subject  open, 
I  made  the  inquiries  I  wished  as  to  the  different  kinds  and  preparations  of 
ether.  He  told  me  something  about  the  preparations,  and  thinking  that 
if  he  had  any  it  would  be  of  the  purest  kind,  I  asked  him  to  let  me  see 
his.  He  did  so,  but  remarked  that  it  had  been  standing  for  some  time, 
and  told  me  that  I  could  get  some  highly  rectified  at  Burnett's.  As  I 
was  passing  out.  Dr.  Jackson  followed  me  to  the  door,  and  told  me  that 
he  could  recommend  something  better  than  the  gas-bag  to  administef 
the  ether  with,  and  gave  me  a  flask  with  a  glass  tube  inserted  in  it. 

"I  procured  the  ether  from  Burnett's,  and  taking  the  tube  and  flask,  shut 
myself  up  in  my  room,  seated  in  the  operating  chair,  and  commenced  in- 
haling. I  found  the  ether  so  strong  that  it  partially  suffocated  me,  but 
produced  a  decided  effect.  I  then  saturated  my  handkerchief  and  in- 
haled it  from  that.  I  looked  at  my  watch  and  soon  lost  consciousness. 
As  I  recovered,  I  felt  a  numbness  in  my  limbs,  with  a  sensation  like 
nightmare,  and  would  have  given  the  world  for  some  one  to  come  and 
arouse  me.  I  thought  for  a  moment  I  should  die  in  that  state,  and  that 
the  world  would  only  pity  or  ridicule  my  folly.  At  length  I  felt  a  slight 
tingling  of  the  blood  in  the  end  of  my  third  finger,  and  made  an  effort  to 
touch  it  with  my  thumb,  but  without  success.  At  a  second  effort,  T 
touched  it,  but  there  seemed  to  be  no  sensation.  I  gradually  raised  my 
arm  and  pinched  my  thigh,  but  I  could  see  that  sensation  was  imperfect. 


I  attempted  to  rise  from  my  chair,  but  fell  back.  Gradually  I  regained 
power  over  my  limbs  and  full  consciousness.  I  immediately  looked  at 
my  \A^atch,  and  found  that  I  had  been  insensible  between  seven  and  eight 

"Delighted  with  the  success  of  this  experiment,  I  immediately  an- 
nounced the  result  to  the  persons  employed  in  my  establishment,  and 
waited  impatiently  for  some  one  upon  whom  I  could  make  a  fuller  trial. 
Toward  evening,  a  man,  residing  in  Boston,  whose  certificate  is  in  the 
appendix,  came  in,  suflering  great  pain,  aod  wishing  to  have  a  tooth  ex- 
tracted. He  was  al'raid  of  the  operation,  and  asked  if  he  coiild  be  mes- 
merized. I  told  him  I  had  something  better,  and  saturating  my  hand- 
kerchief, gave  it  to  him  to  inhale.  He  became  unconcious  almost  im- 
mediately. It  was  dark,  and  Dr.  Hayden  held  the  lamp,  while  I  ex- 
tracted a  firmly  rooted  bicuspid  tooth.  There  was  not  much  alteration 
in  the  pulse,  and  no  relaxation  of  the  muscles.  He  recovered  in  a  min- 
ute, and  knew  nothing  of  what  had  been  done  to  him.  He  remained 
for  some  time  talking  about  the  experiment,  and  I  took  from  him  a  cer- 
tificate. This  was  on  the  30th  of  September,  1840.  This  I  consider 
to  be  the  first  demonstation  of  this  new  fact  in  science.  I  have  heard 
of  no  one  who  can  prove  an  earlier  demonstration.  If  any  one  can  do 
so,  I  yield  to  him  the  point  of  priority  in  time. 

"I  will  make  a  single  remark  upon  the  subject  of  my  interview  with 
Dr.  Jackson.  It  is  not  necessary  to  go  into  the  question  of  the  origin  of 
all  ideas.  I  am  ready  to  acknowledge  my  indebtedness  to  men  and  to 
books  for  all  my  information  upon  this  subject.  I  have  got  here  a  little 
and  there  a  little.  I  learned  from  Dr.  Jackson,  in  1844,  the  effect  of 
ether  direc  ly  applied  to  a  sensitive  tooth,  and  proved,  by  experiment,  that 
it  would  gradually  render  the  nerve  insensible.  I  learned  from  Dr.  Jack- 
son, also,  in  1844,  the  effect  of  ether  when^  inhaled  by  the  students  at 
college,  which  \vas  corroborated  by  Spear's  account,  and  by  what  I  read. 
I  knew  of  Dr.  Wells's  attempt  to  apply  nitrous  oxide  gas  for  destroying 
pain  under  surgical  operations.  I  had  great  motives  to  destroy  or  al- 
leviate pain  under  my  operations,  and  endeavored  to  produce  such  a  re- 
sult by  means  of  inhaling  ether,  inferring  that  if  it  would  render  a 
nerve  insensible,  directly  applied,  it  might,  when  inhaled,  destroy  or 
greatly  alleviate  sensibility  to  pain  generalI3^  Had  the  ether  that  I 
tried  on  the  5th  August  been  pure,  I  should  have  made  the  demonstra- 
tion then,  r  further  acknowledge  that  I  was  subsequently  indebted  to 
Dr.  Jackson  for  valuable  information  as  to  the  kinds  and  preparations  of 
ether,  and  for  the  recommendation  of  the  highly  rectified  from  Burnett's 
as  the  most  safe  and  efficient.  But  my  obligation  to  him  hath  this  ex- 
tent, no-further.  All  that  he  communicated  to  me  I  could  have  got  from 
other  well-informed  chemists,  or  from  some  books.  He  did  not  put  me 
upon  the  experiments;  and  when  he  recommended  the  highly  rectified  sul- 
phuric ether,  ^Ae  effect  he  anticipaled  was  only  that  stupefaction  tchich  teas 
not  unknown,  and  he  did  not  intimate  in  any  degi-ee  a  suspicion  of  that 
insensibility  to  pain  which  was  demonstrated,  and  astonished  the  scientific 

"As  soon  as  the  man  whose  tooth  I  extracted  left  my  office,  I  consulted 
Dr.  Hayden  as  to  the  best  mode  of  bringing  out  the  discovery.  We 
agreed  it  was  best  to  announce  it  to  the  surgeons  at  the  hospital ;  but 
as  some  time  would  elapse  before  an  operation,  I  thought  it  best  to  pro- 


cure  some  assurance  which  would  induce  my  patients  to  take  it. 
therefore  called  upon  the  man  who  had  taken  it,  and  found  him  perfectly 
well.  Thence  I  went  to  Dr.  Jackson,  told  him  what  L  had  done,  and 
asked  him  to  give  me  a  certificate  that  it  was  harmless  in  its  eflects. 
This  he  positively  refused  to  do.  I  then  told  him  I  should  go  to  the  prin- 
cipal surgeons  and  have  the  question  thoroughly  tried.  /  then  called  on 
Dr.  Warren,  who  promised  me  an  early  opporlanilij  to  try  the  experiment, 
and  soon  after  I  received  the  inmtaiion  inserted  in  the  appendix. 

"In  the  mean  time,  I  made  several  additional  experiments  in  my  office, 
with  various  success.  I  administered  it  to  a  boy,  but  it  produced  no 
other  effect  than  sickness,  with  vomiting,  and  the  boy  was  taken  home 
in  a  coach,  and  pronounced  by  a  physician  to  be  poisoned.  His  friends 
were  excited,  and  threatened  proceedings  against  me.  A  notice  of  my 
successful  experiment  having,  without  my  knowledge,  got  into  the  pa- 
pers, several  persons  called,  wishing  to  have  it  administered.  I  gave  it 
to  a  lady,  but  it  produced  no  other  effect  than  drowsiness,  and  when 
breathed  through  the  apparatus  named  by  Dr.  Jackson,  it  produced  suf- 
focation. I  was  obliged  to  abandon  this  mode,  and  obtaining  from  Mr. 
Wightman  a  conical  glass  tube,  I  inserted  a  saturated  sponge  in  the 
larger  end,  and  she  breathed  through  that.  In  this  way  she  seemed  to 
be  in  an  unnatural  state,  but  continued  talking,  and  refused  to  have  the 
tooth  extracted.  I  made  her  some  trifling  offer,  to  which  she  assented, 
and  I  drew  the  tooth,  without  any  indication  of  pain  on  her  part,  not  a 
muscle  moving.  Her  pulse  was  at  90,  her  face  much  flushed,  and  after 
coming  to,  she  remained  a  long  time  excessively  drowsy.  From  this  ex- 
periment, I  became  satisfied  of  what  is  now  well  proved,  that  conscious- 
ness will  sometimes  remain  after  insensibility  to  pain  is  removed. 

"I  afterwards  gave  it  to  a  Miss  L.,  a  lady  of  about  twenty-five.  The 
effect  upon  her  was  rather  alarming.  She  sprang  up  from  the  chair, 
leaped  into  the  air,  screamed,  and  was  held  down  with  difficulty.  When 
she  came  to,  she  was  unconscious  of  what  had  passed,  but  was  willing 
to  have  it  administered  again,  which  I  did  with  perfect  success,  extract- 
ing two  molar  teeth.  After  this,  I  tried  several  other  experiments,  some 
with  more  and  some  with  less  success,  giving  my  principal  attention  to 
the  perfecting  of  my  modes  of  admistering  it.  . 

"  When  the  time  drew  near  for  the  experiment  at  the  hospital,  I  be- 
came exceedingly  anxious,  and  gave  all  my  time,  day  and  night,  hardly 
sleeping  or  eating,  to  the  contriving  of  apparatus,  and  general  investi- 
gation of  the  subject. 

"I  called  on  Dr.  Gould,  a  physician  who  has  paid  much  attention  to 
chemistry,  and  told  him  my  anxieties  and  difficulties.  He  sympathized 
with  me,  gave  me  his  attention,  and  we  sat  up  nearly  all  night  making 
sketches  of  apparatus ;  he  first  suggesting  to  me  an  antidote  in  case 
of  unfavorable  efl\3cts,  and  the  valvular  system,  instead  of  the  one  I 
then  used.  The  operation  was  to  be  at  10  o'clock.  I  rose  at  daybreak, 
went  to  Mr.  Chamberlain,  an  iHstrument-maker,  and,  by  great  urging, 
got  the  apparatus  done  just  after  ten  o'clock,  hurried  to  the  hospital, 
and  reached  the  room  just  as  Dr.  Warren  was  about  to  begin  the  ope- 
ration ;  he  having  given  up  all  hope  of  my  coming.  The  detailed  ac- 
count of  this  operation  will  be  found  in  Dr.  Warren's  communication. 
There  was  a  full  attendance ;  the  interest  excited  was  intense,  with  the 
most  eager  scrutiny  of  the  patient.    When  the  operation  closed,  the 


patient  described  his  state,  and  Dr.  Warren  announced  his  belief  that 
there  had  been  insensibility  to  pain,  my  feelings  may  be  better  imagin- 
ed than  described. 

"I  was  invited  to  administer  it  the  next  day,  in  an  operation  for  a 
tumor,  performed  by  Dr.  Hayward,  and  with  perfect  success. 

"  On  the  23d  October,  I  saw  Dr.  Jackson  for  the  first  time  since  the 
interview  last  described.  I  take  my  account  of  this  interview  from  a 
memorandum  made  at  the  time,  the  accuracy  of  which  is  attested  by 
two  witnesses  of  the  highest  respectability  who  were  present.  He  said 
he  thought  he  would  just  look  in,  that  he  heard  I  was  doing  well  with 
the  ether,  and  learned  from  Mr.  Eddy  that  I  intended  to  take  out  a  pa- 
tent, and  would  make  a  good  deal  by  it.  I  replied  that  it  had  been  a 
cause  of  anxiety  and  expense  to  me,  but  that  I  thought  I  should  now  do 
well  with  it.  He  said  he  thought  so  too,  and  that  he  believed  he  must 
make  me  a  professional  charge  for  advice.  I  asked  him  why  in  this 
case,  more  than  in  any  other  case  of  his  advice,  arising  out  of  our  pre- 
vious relations,  as  mentioned  at  the  opening  of  this  memoir.  He  said 
that  his  advice  had  been  useful  to  me,  that  I  should  make  a  good  deal 
out  of  the  patent,  and  that  I  ought  to  make  him  a  compensation.  I 
told  him  I  would  do  so  if  I  made  much  by  the  patent,  independant  of 
what  I  gained  in  my  business.  He  then  said  he  should  charge  me  S500. 
I  told  him  I  would  pay  him  that,  if  ten  per  cent,  on  the  nett  profits  of 
the  patent  amounted  to  so  much.  He  said  he  was  perfectly  satisfied 
with  this  arrangement,  and  so  the  interview  ended.  The  next  morning 
he  told  Mr.  R.  H.  Eddy  what  had  passed,  and  two  or  three  days  after- 
wards Mr.  Eddy  suggested  to  me  that  instead  of  paying  Dr.  Jackson  a 
fee,  I  should  interest  him  in  the  patent,  and  give  him  ten  per  cent,  of 
the  nett  profits.  Mr.  Eddy  made  this  suggestion  out  of  friendship  to 
Dr.  Jackson,  whom  he  wished  to  benefit.  He  added  that  the  patent 
would  thus  have  the  benefit  of  Dr  Jackson's  name  and  skill ;  that  he 
would  thus  have  a  motive  to  give  his  attention  to  the  preparation  and 
the  apparatus,  and  we  should  be  able  to  keep  in  advance  of  the  im- 
provements that  might  be  suggested  by  others.  He  also  said  that  if  a 
suit  was  brought,  and  Dr.  Jackson  should  be  a  witness,  as  he  doubtless 
would  be,  the  aid  he  had  given  me  might  be  made  a  handle  of  by  per- 
sons impeaching  the  patent  to  invalidate  my  claim  as  the  discoverer. 
At  this  time  the  dentist  had  organized  a  formidable  opposition  to  the 
use  of  ether,  and  all  the  medical  magazines  in  the  Union,  except  Boston, 
were  arrayed  against  it.  I  felt  the  need  of  all  the  aid  I  could  get,  and 
was  conscious  of  a  want  of  thorough  scientific  education  myself.  I 
was  induced  by  these  motives  to  accede  to  Mr.  Eddy's  request,  but  did 
not  then  understand  that  Dr.  Jackson  claimed  to  be  a  discoverer  at  all. 
But  on  this  head  I  refer  to  the  affidavits  of  the  Messrs.  Eddy. 

"I  continued  administering  the  ether  in  my  office,  and  early  in  No- 
vember I  applied  to  Di*.  Hayward  for  leave  to  administer  it  in  a  case 
of  amputation,  which  I  learned  was  to'take  place  at  the  hospital.  Dr. 
H.  J.  Bigelow,  in  the  mean  time,  had  attended  my  experiments  at  my 
office,  and  taking  a  deep  interest  in  the  subject,  prepared  a  memoir, 
which  he  read  to  the  Boston  Society  for  Medical  Improvement,  and 
subsequently  to  the  American  Academy  of  Arts  and  Sciences. 

"  The  surgeons  of  the  hospitals  informed  me  that  they  thought  it  their 
duty  to  decline  the  use  of  the  preparation  until  informed  what  it  was. 


I  immediately  wrote  to  Dr.  Warren,  the  senior  surgeon,  disclosing  the 
whole  matter.  The  operation  took  place  on  the  7th  November.  About 
half  an  hour  beforehand,  Dr.  H.  J.  Bigelow  called  for  me,  and  said  he 
wished  me  to  be  on  the  spot,  in  case  it  should  be  determined  to  admit 
me.  After  remaining  in  the  ante-room  for  some  time,  it  was  resolved 
by  the  surgeons  to  permit  the  experiment,  and  I  administered  the  ether 
with  perfect  success.  This  was  the  first  amputation.  I  will  also  re- 
mark that  Dr.  Jackson  was  absent  from  the  city  at  this  time,  and  knew 
nothing  of  the  operation. 

On  the  21st  November,  I  administered  the  ether  in  an  operation  for  a 
tumor,  at  the  Bromfield  House,  in  the  presence  of  a  number  of  medical 
gentlemen,  among  whom  I  noticed  Dr.  Jackson.  This  was  the  first 
time  he  had  seen  it  administered,  and  no  one  hut  myself  had  administered 
it  in  Boston  or  elsewhere,  to  my  knowledge.  In  this  instance  Br. 
Jackson  apiieared  merely  as  a  spectator.  On  the  2(Z  January,  1847, 
he  did  the  first  act  indicating  to  the  surgeons  that  he  had  any 
interest  in  the  subject.  On  that  day  he  called  at  the  hospital  with  some 
oxygen  gas  as  an  antidote  for  asphyxia,  which  he  heard  was  pro- 
duced by  the  ether.  Bat  before  this  time  the  surgeons  had  satisfied 
themselves  that  asphyxia  was  not  produced.  With  the  single  excep- 
tion of  an  intimation  to  Dr.  Warren,' lohich  was  after  its  establishment  at 
the  hospital,  and  which  appears  in  his  communication,  none  of  the  sur- 
geons or  other  persons  engaged  in  these  experiments  had  received  any  idea 
from  Dr.  Jackson  himself,  or  from  his  conduct,  that  he  was  in  any  way 
connected  loith  this  discovery,  responsible  for  the  iise  of  the  preparation^ 
entitled  to  the  credit  of  its  success,  or  liable  to  the  odium  of  its  failure'. 

"  If  death  or  serious  injury  had  occurred  to  any  on*,  Dr.  Jackson  could 
not  have  been  in  the  least  degree  implicated.  It  was  not  until  danger 
was  over,  and  success  certain,  until  the  discovery  had  arrested  the  atten- 
tion of  the  world,  until  the  formidable  opposition  of  the  dentists  and  of 
all  the  medical  magazines  and  societies  in  other  places  had  become  pow- 
erless, that  Dr.  Jackson  began  to  involve  himself  in  it,  and  that  his  claim 
to  have  anticipated  the  eflfects,  and  communicated  them  to  me,  was 
brought  forward. 

"  On  the  19th  October,  as  soon  as  I  felt  confident  of  success,  I  addres- 
ed  a  note  to  my  former  partner.  Dr.  Wells,  informing  him  of  what  I  had 
done,  and  asking  him  to  come  to  Boston  and  assist  me  in  bringing  the 
discovery  into  use  in  dentistry.  He  replied  by  the  letter  in  the  appen- 
dix, of  October  20,  1846.  He  came  to  Boston,  saw  several  experiments 
in  my  office,  expressed  himself  alarmed,  said  I  should  kill  some  one  yet, 
and  break  myself  up  in  my  business.  He  left  abruptly,  but  without  in- 
timating a  claim  to  the  discovery,  although  he  could  recognise  the  ether, 
and  was  freely  told  that  it  was  ether.  I  have  also  the  authority  of  Dr. 
Warren  and  Dr.  Hay  ward  for  saying  that  no  allusion  was  made  by  Dr. 
Wells  to  ether,  to  their  knowledge,  when  he  made  his  experiment  in  Bos- 
ton, in  1844-5, 

"I  am  aware  that  a  communication  to  an  institution  whose  objects 
are  scientific,  and  not  personal,  gives  me  no  right  to  argue  the  question 
of  my  own  claim  to  a  discovery,  in  opposition  to  the  claims  of  others. 
I  have  endeavored  to  state  no  facts  but  such  as  fairly  illustrate  the  his- 
tory  of  this  demonstration.  If  these  have  any  bearing  upon  the  claims 
of  others,  I  am  entitled  to  the  benefit  of  the  effect.    But  this  memoir  is 

not  intended  to  present  the  whole  of  my  comparative  rights,  as  against 
the  el  aims  of  Dr.  Jackson  or  Dr.  Wells.  If  a  tribunal  were  opened 
for  such  a  discussion,  I  would  most  cheerfully  prepare  for  the  hearing, 
and  submit  myself  to  the  judgment,  of  any  enlightened  umpire.  I  have 
proposed  such  a  course  to  Dr.  Jackson,  who  has  declined  it. 

"In  justice  to  myself,  I  should  say,  that  I  took  out  my  patent  early, 
before  I  realized  how  extensively  useful  the  discovery  would  be,  and  be- 
side the  motive  of  profit  and  remuneration  to  myself,  I  was  advised  that 
it  would  be  well  to  restrain  so  powerful  an  agent,  which  might  be  em- 
ployed for  the  most  nefarious  purposes.  I  gave  free  rights  to  all  chari- 
table institutions,  and  offered  to  sell  the  right  to  surgeons  and  physicians 
for  a  very  small  price,  such  as  no  one  could  object  to  paying,  and  rea- 
sonably to  dentists.  I  had  little  doubt  that  the  proper  authorities  would 
take  it  out  of  private  hands,  if  the  public  good  required  it,  making  the 
discoverer,  who  had  risked  reputation,  and  sacrificed  time  and  monej', 
such  a  compensation  as  justice  required.  But  as  the  use  has  now  be- 
come general  and  almost  necessary,  I  have  long  since  abandoned  the 
sale  of  rights,  and  the  public  use  the  ether  freely;  and  I  believe  I  am  the 
only  persoa  in  the  world  to  whom  this  discovery  has,  so  far,  been  a  pe- 
cuniary loss. 

"  Most  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 

"W.  T.  G.  MORTON. 

"Boston,  (U.  S.  A.)  July  31,  1847." 

This  statement  brings  the  discovery  down  to  a  time  when  it  became 
fully  established,  and  when  complete  publicity  was  given  it  by  several 
successful  operations  under  its  influence  in  the  Massachusetts  Hospital, 
It  is  fully  suppor&ed  by  Dr.  George  Hayward,  one  of  the  surgeons 
in  the  Massachusetts  General  Hospital,  and  much  in  detail,  by  the 
testimony  of  disinterested  witnesses.  The  following  is  a  note  from  Dr. 
H.  in  reference  thereto : 

"  Boston,  February  5th,  1852. 
"  Dear  Sir  :  The  article  by  R.  H.  Dana,  jr.,  Esq.,  on  the  ether  dis- 
covery, (Dr.  Morton's  Memoir,)  which  appeared  in  Littell's  Living  Age 
for  March,  1848,  was  read  to  me  before  it  was  printed;  and  to  my  best 
knowledge  and  belief  all  its  statements  are  correct. 

"  I  remain,  very  truly  yours,  &c., 


"  Hon.  Geo.  T.  Davis." 

It  is  proved  that,  prior  to  1844,  Dr.  Morton  was  associated  in  practice 
with  Dr.  Horace  Wells  as  a  surgeon  dentist.  That  afterwards  he 
became  a  student  of  medicine  with  Dr.  Charles  T.  Jackson,  and  a 
boarder  in  his  family.  That  in  pursuance  of  the  suggestion  of  Sir 
Humphrey  Davy,  mentioned  above,  Dr.  Wells  was  experimenting 
on  nitrous  oxide,  and  professed  to  have  been  successful  in  several 
instances  in  extracting  teeth  without  pain  from  patients  under  its 
influence.  That  in  the  winter  of  1844-'5,  Dr.  Wells  came  to  Bos- 
ton and  desired  to  make  public  exhibition  of  his  alleged  discover}', 
when  Dr.  Morton,  as  his  friend,  obtained  permission  for  him  to  ex- 
hibit before  a  public  assembly,  and  himself  assisted  on  the  occasion. 
The  experiment  of  Dr.  Wells  proved  a  faili\re:  he  was  greatly  morti- 
fied, and  presently  abandoned  the  pursuit. 


It  is  very  reasonable  to  suppose  that  this  attempt  of  Dr.  Wells,  al- 
thouc^h  it  resulted  unfortunately,  did,  in  connexion  with  his  profession 
and  his  previous  studies,  turn  the  mind  of  Dr.  Morton  still  more  strongly 
in  that  direction.  He  certainly  had  just  reason  to  hope  that,  although 
nitrous  oxide  would  not  produce  the  desired  result,  he  could  find  some 
other  gas  or  vapor  which  would.  He  was  young  and  ardent— a  sur- 
geon dentist  with  already  a  large  business,  and  he  was  condemned  to 
witness  daily  the  excruciating  pain  occasioned  by  his  more  difficult  ope- 
rations, especially  when  nervous  and  sensitive  females  were  the  subjects. 
It  is  natural  to  suppose  that  a  humane  desire  to  remove  so  much  suffer- 
ing, and  especially  a  prospect  of  tlie  enviable  reputation  and  high  for- 
tune which  should  attend  such  a  discovery,  caused  it  to  take  full  posses- 
sion of  his  mind. 

He  was  in  a  situation  hijghly  favorable  to  the  progress  of  his  inquiries. 
His  facilities  for  study  and  the  progress  which  he  made  generally  in  his 
profession,  can  hardly  be  better  presented  than  in  the  following  certifi- 
cates and  diploma : 

Harvard  University. — Medical  Matriculation.  Mr.  Wm.  Thos.  Green 
Morton  has  Matriculated. 

Boston,  Nov.  6lh,  1844.  WALTER  CHANNING,  Dean. 

Harvard  University. — Lectures  on  Anatomy  and  Surgery.  Admit 
W.  T.  G.  Morton. 

November,  1844.  JOHN  C.  WARREN. 

Harvard  University. — Principles  of  Surgery  and  Clinical  Surgery, 
by  Geo.  Hayward,  M.  D.    Admit  W.  T.  G.  Morton. 
November,  1844.  • 

Harvard  University. — Lectures  on  Materia  Medica,  by  Jacob  Bigelow, 
M.  D.    Admit  W.  T.  G.  Morton. 
Boston,  November,  1844. 

Harvard  University. — Theory  and  Practice  of  Physic,  hy  John  Ware, 
M.  D.    Admit  W.  T.  G.  Morton.  . 
November,  1844. 

Harvard  University. —  Theory  and  Practice  of  Midwifery  and  Medical 
Jurisprudence,  by  Walter  Channing,  M.  D.    Admit  W.  T.  G.  Morton. 
Boston,  November,  1844. 

Harvard  University. — Lectures  on  Chemistry.  Admit  Mr.  W.  T.  G. 

November,  1844.    "  J.  W.  WEBSTER,  Professor. 

Admit  Mr.  Wm.  Thos.  Green  Morton  to  the  Massachusetts  General 

Boston,  November  6,  1844. 

This  ticket  admits  Mr.  W.  T,  G.  Morton  to  the  school  of  Practical 
Anatomy,  in  Harvard  University. 

1844-'5.  SAMUEL  PARKMAN. 


^J^^^'^^^^^y^i'^^'^^'^-r'i^-— Lectures  on  Anatomy  and  Surirery.  Admit 
W.  T.  G.  Morton. 

November,  1845.  JOHN  C.  WARREN. 

Harvard  UmYmsnY.— Principles  of  Surgery  and  Clinical  Surgery 
by  George  Hayward,  M.  D.    Admit  W.  T.  G.  Morton. 
November,  1845. 

Harvard  University. — Lectures  on  Materia  Medica,  bv  Jacob  Bigelow 
M.  D.    W.  T.  G.  Morton. 
Boston,  November,  1845. 

Harvard  University. — Theorij  and  Practice  of  Physic,  by  John  Ware 
M.  D.    Admit  W.  T.  G.  Morton. 
November,  1845. 

Harvard  University. — Theory  and  Practice  of  Midwifery,  and  Medi- 
cal Jurisprudence,  by  Walter  Channing,  M.  D.    Admit  W.  T.  G.  Morton. 
Boston,  November,  1845. 

Harvard  University. — Lectures  on  Chemistry.  Admit  Mr.  W.  T.  G. 

November,  1845.  J.  W.  WEBSTER,  Professor. 

Admit  Mr.  Wm.  Thos.  Green  Morton  to  the  Massacliusetts  General 
Hospital,  four  months. 

Boston,  November  5,  1845. 


Professores  et  Curatores  Senatiis  Medici  Universitatis  Waskingtoni- 
ani(B  Baltimorensis  omnibus  has  litteras  visuris,  salutem. 

Nos  summa  ReipublicEE  Marilandise  auctoritate  instructi,  certiores 
facimus  omnes  ad  quos  ha3  litteras  nostras  pervenerint,  virum  ornatissi- 
mum  W.  T.  G.  Morton  artis  Medicae  et  Chirurgicae  studiis  excuitum,  in 
sessione  nostra  solemni,  apud  Nos  esse  comprobatum.  Quocirca  eidem 
W.  T.  G.  Mbrton  Doctoris  Medici  Gradum,  majore  sufFragiorum  nu- 
mero  concessimus,  eumque  singulis  inter  nos  et  alibi  gentium  privilegiis 
et  juribus  ad  gradum  istum  pertinentibus,  frui  jussimus. 

Cujus  rei  quo  major  sit  fides,  Prsesentes  Has,  Collegii  Sigillo  et  chiro- 
graphis  nostris  munitas,  dare  placuit. 

Datum  Baltimori  Die  Mensis  Cal  Martis  annoque  SalutisReparataB  18  . 

Johannes  C.  S.  Monkur,  M.  D.,  Prax.  et  Theoret.  Med.  Professor. 

GuLiELMUS  H.  Stokes,  M.  D.,  Inst.  Med.  Med.  Jurisp.  et  Insan.  Professor. 

Georgium  McCook,  A.m.  M.  D.,  Professor  Chirurgiee. 

Geo.  C.  M.  Roberts,  M.  D.  D.D.,  Obstet.  et  Mul.  et  Inf.  Morb.  Professor. 

Tho.  E.  Bond,  A.M.,  M.  D.,  Therap.  Mat.  Med.  et  Hyg.  Professor. 

Rege  N.  Wright,  A.M.,  M.  D.,  Chem.  Professor. 

Georgium  McCook,  A.M.,  M.  D.,  Professor  Anatomiee. 

J.  V.  McJilton, 

Z.  Collins  Lee, 

Benjamin  Kurtz,  D.D., 

Johannes  G.  Morris,  D.D., 
[seal.]  Hugh  Jenkins, 

J.  T.  Mackenzie,  M.  D., 

^  Curatores. 



To  the  Secretary  of  the  Executive  Committee  of  the  American  Society  of 

Dental  Surgeons  : 

Mr.  W.  T.  G.  Morton,  Dentist,  entered  his  name  with  me  as  a  student 
of  medicine  March  20,  1844,  and  attended  to  practical  anatomy,  in  the 
Massachusetts  Medical  College,  during  the  winter  of  that  year,  where 
he  dissected  with  diligence  and  zeal,  and  paid  special  attention  to  the 
anatomy  of  the  head  and  throat — parts  of  human  anatomy  particularly 
important  to  the  surgeon  dentist.  He  also  studied  Bell's  and  other  stan- 
dard works  on  anatom)%  and  attended  the  lectures  of  Drs.  Warren,  Hay- 
ward,  and  other  professors.  I  would  recommend  him  as  a  suitable  per- 
son for  admission  as  a  dental  surgeon.  He  is  a  skilful  operator  in  den- 
tistry, both  in  the  surgical  and  mechanical  departments,  and  has  studied 
the  chemical  properties  of  the  ingredients  required  for  the  manufacture 
of  artificial  teeth.  CHARLES  T.  JACKSON,  M.  D, 

Prior  to  this  time.  Dr.  Jackson  had,  as  he  states,  recommended  chloric 
ether  as  an  external  application  to  allay  pain  in  the  teeth  and  gums ; 
and  had  furnished  several  dentists  in  Boston,  his  friends,  with  the  article 
in  its  purity ;  be  does  not  name  Dr.  Morton  among  the  number  ;  but 
from  the  relations  which  subsisted  between  them,  from  the  fact  that  Dr. 
Morton  was  at  that  time  the  family  dentist  of  Dr.  Jackson,  as  well  as 
his  student  in  medicine,  your  committee  think  the  statement  of  Dr.  Mor- 
ton, in  this  particular,  supported  by  that  of  Dr.  Jackson.  Add  to  this 
the  fact,  well  known  at  the  time  to  college  students,  and  especially  to 
students  of  chemistry  and  medicine,  that  the  vapor  of  sulphuric  ether 
inhaled  for  a  short  time  allayed  pain,  and  we  have  the  circumstances 
which  would  naturally  direct  the  mind  of  the  inquirer  to  that  substance 
as  one  whose  inhalation  would  be  probably  safe,  and  which  would  ren- 
der the  patient  insensible  during  a  short  but  painful  operation.  As  ad- 
ditional proof  of  the  direction  of  Dr.  Morton's  studies,  and  that  he  had 
the  means  in  his  power  of  knowing  all  that  was  known  of  this  'agent 
then  familiarly  used  as  a  nepenthe,  your  committee  are  referred  to  a 
bill  of  books  purchased  by  Dr.  Morton  of  B.  B.  Mussey,  of  Boston,  on  the 
3d  of  May,  1845.  Among  them  is  Peruias  Materia  Medica,  which  con-^ 
tains  the  following  sentence  :  "  the  vapor  of  ether  is  inhaled  in  spasmodic 
asthma,  ehronic  catarrh,  dyspepsia,  and  whooping  cough,  and  to  relieve  the 
effects  caused  by  the  accidental  inhilation  of  chloraic  gas"  Its  intoxica- 
ting or  stupefying  effects  were,  as  we  have  already  said,  well  known  to 
students  and  scientific  men. 

On  the  30th  day  of  June,  1846,  three  months  before  the  discovery  was 
made  public,  it  appears,  by  the  statement  of  Richard  H.  Dana,  jr..  At- 
torney at  Law,  and  by  a  charge  in  his  books,  that  an  article  of  agree- 
ment was  entered  into  by  Dr.  Morton  and  G.  G.  Hayden,  by  which  the 
latter  agreed  to  take  chai-ge  of  the  business  of  Dr.  Morton  for  a  time; 
Dr.  Morton  giving  to  Mr.  Dana  as  a  reason  of  his  entering  into  the  ar- 
rangement, that  he  wished  to  give  his  attention  to  another  matter  of 
great  importance,  which,  if  successful,  would  revolutionize  the  practice 
of  dentistry. 

This  conversation  was  shortly  after  detailed  by  Richard  H.  Dana,  jr. 
to  Dr.  Francis  Dana,  jr.,  whose  corroborative  evidence  puts  the  substance 
of  the  conversation  beyond  question,  and  the  date  is  fixed  by  that  of  the 
instrument  and  the  entry  above  referred  to. 

Granville  G.  Hayden  testifies — 

"That,  about  the  last  of  Jane,  1840,  Dr/William  T.  G.  Morton  called 
upon  me  at  my  office,  No.  23,  Tremont  How,  and  stated  to  me  that  he 
wished  to  make  some  arrangements  with  me  that  would  relieve  him 
from  all  care  as  to  the  superintendence  of  those  employed  by  him  in 
making  teeth,  and  all  other  matters  in  his  office.  He  stated,  as  a  reason 
for  urging  me  to  superintend  his  affairs  in  his  office,  that  he  had  an  idea 
in  his  head,  connected  with  dentistry,  which  he  thought '  would  be  one 
of  the  greatest  things  ever  known,'  and  that  he  wished  to  perfect  it,  and 
give  his  whole  time  and  attention  to  its  development.  Being  extremely 
urgent  in  the  matter,  I  made  an  engagement  with  him  the  same  day, 
according  to  his  request.  I  then  asked  him  what  his 'secret'  was.  *0h,' 
said  he,  'you  will  know  in  a  short  time.'  1  still  insisted  upon  knowing  it, 
and  he  finally  told  me  the  same  night — to  wit,  the  night  of  the  last  day 
.of  June,  1846,  aforesaid — that  'it  was  SQmething  he  had  discovered 
w^hich  would  enable  him  to  extract  teeth  without  pain.'  I  then  asked 
him  if  it  was  not  what  Dr.  Wells,  his  former  partner,  had  used ;  and  he 
replied,  'No!  nothing  like  it;'  and,  furthermore,  'that  it  was  something 
that  neither  he,  nor  any  one  else,  had  ever  used.'  He  then  told  me  he 
had  already  tried  it  upon  a  dog,  and  described  its  effects  upon  bim,  which 
(from  his  description)  exactly  correspond  with  the  effects  of  ether  upon 
persons  who  have  subjected  themselves  to  its  influence,  under  my  obser- 
vation. All  this  happened  in  June,  1846.  He  then  requested  me  not 
to  mention  what  he  had  communicated  to  me." 

Francis  Whitman  testifies  as  follows — 

"I  have  often  heard  Dr.  Morton  speak  about  discovering  some  means 
of  extracting  teeth  without  pain.  This  discovery  appeared  to  be  the 
subject  of  his  thoughts  and  investigations  during  the  greater  part  of 
last  year,  i.  e.,  1846.  One  day — I  think  it  was  previous  to  July, '1846 — 
Dr.  M.,  in  speaking  of  the  improvements  he  had  made  in  his  profession, 
and  of  some  one  improvement  in  particular,  said,  if  he  could  onl}'  extract 
teeth  without  pain,  he  '  would  make  a  stir.'  I  replied,  that  I  hardly 
thought  it  could  be  done.  He  said,  he  believed  it  could,  and  that  he 
would  find  out  something  yet  to  accomplish  his  purpose.  In  conversa- 
tion with  Dr.  M.,  some  time  in  July,  he  spoke  of  having  his  patients 
coming  in  at  one  door,  having  all  their  teeth  extracted  without  pain  and 
without  knowing  it,  and  then  going  into  the  next  room,  arid  having  a  full 
set  put  in. 

"  I  recollect  Dr.  Morton  came  into  the  office  one  day  in  great  glee,  and 
exclaimed,  that  he  had  'found  it,'  and  that  he  could  extract  teeth  with- 
out pain  !  I  don't  recollect  what  followed ;  but,  soon  after,  he  wanted 
one  of  us  in  the  office  to  try  it,  and  he  then  sent  William  and  Thomas 
out  to  hire  a  man  to  come  and  have  an  experiment  tried  upon  him. 
After  all  these  circumstances  happened.  Dr.  Hayden  advised  Dr.  Morton 
to  consult  with  some  chemist  in  relation  to  this  discovery.  I  went,  at 
Dr.  Morton's  request,  to  see  if  Dr.  Jackson  had  returned,  (he  having  been 
absent  from  the  city,)  but  found  that  he  was  still  absent." 

From  this  testimony,  corroborative  of  the  statement  of  Dr.  Morton,  it 
does,  in  the  opinion  of  your  committee,  sufficiently  appear  that  he  was, 
prior  and  subsequent  to  the  30th  of  June,  1840,  intent  upon  the  discovery 
of  some  antesthetic  agent,  which  would  enable  him  to  extract  teeth  with- 



out  pain  ;  and  that  he  had  faith  and  confidence  that  he  was  on  the  point 
of  making  the  discovery.  He  says,  in  his  narrative,  rhat  the  anaesthetic 
accent,  which  he  then  had  in  view,  was  sulphuric  cither,  and  the  proof  ad- 
duced is,  in  the  opinion  of  your  committee,  equally  conclusive  in  support 

of  that  fact.  ■  ,     ,  .   «  t    ^      n      »  u 

Theadore  Metcalf  sailed  for  Europe  in  the  ship   Joshua  Bates  on  the  . 
6th  day  of  July,  1840,  on  a  tour,  from  which  he  returned  in  the  fall  of 
1847.    We  give  below  a  note  addressed  by  him  to  Dr.  Morton ;  and  an 
extract  from  a  letter  to  the  trustees  of  the  General  Hospital,  each  a  let- 
ter to  N.  J.  Bowditch  Esq.,  bearing  directly  on  this  point. 
In  his  note  to  Dr.  Morton  dated  December  20,  1847,  he  says: 

"I  can  only  state  that  I  remember  to  have  met  you  at  Mr.  Burnett's 
store  early  in  the  summer  of  1846,  and  to  have  had  a  conversation  with 
you  in  regard  to  the  medicinal  qualities  of  sulphuric  ether,  a  quantity  of 
which  you  were  then  purchasing.  I  cannot,  as  you  desire,  give  the  pre- 
cise date,  but  know  it  to  have  been  previous  to  July  6,  as  1  left  Boston 
on  that  day  for  a  tour,  from  which  I  have  but  a  few  weeks  returned." 

"Boston,  January  26,  1848. 

"  Sir  :  In  answer  to  your  inquiry  respecting  the  nature  of  my  interview 
with  Dr.  Morton,  I  can  only  add  to  my  note  of  December  20,  that  the 
conversation  was  commenced  by  some  inquiry  on  his  part,  concerning 
the  nature  and  etiects  of  sulphuric  ether,  a  vial  of  which  he  then  held 
in  his  hand. 

"In  answer  to  his  several  questions,  I  gave  him  such  information_as 
he  could  have  obtained  from  any  intelligent  apothecary  at  that  time,  and 
also  related  to  him  some  personal  experience  as  to  its  use  as  a  substitute 
for  the  nitrous  oxide;  adding  the  then  generally  received  opinion,  that 
its  excessive  inhalation  would  produce  dangerous,  if  not  fatal  conse- 
quences. Some  reference  was  made — but  whether  by  Mr.  Morton  or 
myself,  I  cannot  remember — to  the  unsuccessful  experiments  of  his  for- 
hier  partner,  Mr.  Wells,  with  the  nitrous  oxide.  It  was  one  of  those 
casual  conversations  which  quickly  pass  from  the  mind  ;  and  it  was  for 
the  first  time  recalled  to  my  memory,  upon  seeing,  months  after,  in  a 
French  journal,  an  account  of  the  anesthetic  effects  of  eJher,  the  dis- 
covery of  which  was  ascribed  by  the  writer  to  a  Boston  dentist. 
•'I  am,  sir,  very  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 


"  N.  I.  Bowditch,  Esq." 

In  his  letter  to  the  Trustees  of  the  Massachusetts  General  Hospital, 
dated  Boston,  January  6th,  1849,  Mr.  Metcalf  saj-s : 

"This  belief  is  founded  partly  upon  my  memory  of  (he  conversation 
with  Morton  and  partly  upon  the  fact  that  when  in  Italy,  months  after,  I 
saw  for  the  first  time  an  account  of  etherization  in  a  j^Wnch  journal,  \n 
which  its  discovery  was  ascribed  simp  it/ to  a  'Boston  dentist;'  I  said  at 
once  that  1  was  sure  Morton  must  be  the  man,  for  he  was  engaged  upon 
ether  before  I  left  home,  and  that  I  now  knew  why  he  had  been  so  curious 
and  at  the  same  time  shy  in  his  conversation  with  me.''  ' 

If  we  consider  the  then  pursuit  of  Dr.  Morton,  his  earnest  desire  for 
information,  and  his  anxiety  to  preserve  his  secret,  his  shyness  with 



others  and  his  comparative  freedom  in  conversation  with'Mr.  Metcalf 
will  be  fully  explained.  Mr.  Metcalf  was  a  chemist,  possessed  of  all  the 
current  scientific  knowledge  of  his  profession,  and  he  was  just  setting 
out  on  a  voyage  to  Europe,  so  that  Dr.  Morton  could  avail  himself  of 
his  knowledge  and  his  suggestions  wit.h  safely  to  his  secret. 

Dr.  Ilayden  says  that  "about  the  first  of  August,  1840,  Dr.  Morton 
asked  me  where  he  could  get  some  pure  ether,  and  asked  me  to  go  to 
Joseph  Burnett's  apothecary  shop  and  purchase  a  four-ounce  vial  full  of 
ether,  which  he  said  he  wished  to  carry  home  with  him,  he  being  about 
to  leave  town  for  Needham,  where  he  then  resided.  And  about  the 
same  time  he  explained  to  me  the  nature  and  effects  of  ether,  and  told 
me  that  if  he  could  get  any  patient  to  inhale  a  certain  quantity  of  ether 
gas,  it  would  cause  insensibility  to  the  pain  of  extracting  teeth,  and  he 
tried  to  induce  me  to  take  it.  Dr.  Morton  said  he  had  breathed  it  him- 
self, and  it  would  do  no  harm  ;  and  he  at  the  same  time  tried  to  induce 
three  young  men  in  the  office  to  take  the  gas.  This  was  in  August, 
1846.  He  was  continually  talking  about  his  discovery  to  me.  From 
the  time  I  engaged  with  Dr.  M.  as  aforesaid,  he  frequently  stated  to  me 
that  he  had  nearly  perfected  every  department  in  dentistry,  save  extract- 
ing teeth  without  pain,  and  that  he  was  determined  to  accomplish  that 
also.  But  towards  the  last  of  September  following,  he  intimated  to  me 
that,  in  some  particulars,  his  discovery  did  not  work  exactly  right,  and, 
in  my  presence,  was  consulting  his  books  to  ascertain  something  further 
about  ether." 

The  inquiry  made  of  Dr.  Hayden  for  a  chemist  of  whom  pure  sul- 
phuric ether  could  be  obtained,  was  probably  to  avoid  going  too  fre- 
quently to  the  same  place  for  the  ether,  and  thus  exciting  inquirj^  which 
might  lead  to  a  discovery  of  his  secret ;  and  at  last  he  maj^  have  sent 
Dr.  Hayden,  instead  of  going  himself,  for  the  same  purpose.  We  find 
here  as  early  as  August  1st,  1846,  the  anaesthetic  agent,  sulphuric  ether, 
connected  by  Dr.  Morton  with  the  object  of  his  pursuit. 

Shortly  after  this,  and  prior  to  the  28th  of  September,  1846,  Dr.  Mor- 
ton called  upon  Mr.  ^Vightman,  a  well  known  maker  of  philosophical 
instruments  and  apparatus  in  Boston,  told  him  that  he  had  abandoned 
his  views  of  increasing  the  security  of  artificial  teeth  by  atmospheric 
pressure,  which  he  found  to  be  erroneous,  and  was  engaged  upon  some- 
thing of  much  greater  importance  to  his  profession.  He  then  wished 
him  to  show  him  some  gas  bags  of  India  rubber  cloth  made  for  retaining 
gas,  and  inquired  whether  it  would  do  to  put  sulphuric  ether  in  them. 
Not  being  able  to  give  Dr.  Morton  satisfactory  information  on  the  sub- 
ject, he  advised  him  to  call  on  "Dr.  Jackson,  which  he  said  he  would  do. 
About  this  time  some  sulphuric  ether  was  procured  for  Dr.  Morron,  not 
in  his  "own  name,  and  brought  to  his  oflice  by  \Vm.  P.  Leavitt,  one  of 
the  young  men  in  his  employment.  Another  of  the  young  men,  Thomas 
R.  Spear,  was  first  prevailed  upon  to  inhale  the  vapor,  but  ihe  eflect  on 
him  was  far  from  being  satisfactory.  Leavitt  then  took  it,  also  with  no 
satisfactory  result,  and  Dr.  Morton  was  for  a  time  greatly  disheartened. 
(See  depositions  of  Leavitt  and  Spear,  in  Appendix.)  He  complained  to 
Dr.  Hayden  that,  in  some  particulars,  his  discovery  did  not  work  exactly 
right,  and,  "in  my  presence,"  says  the  witness,  "was  consulting  his 
books  to  ascertain  something  further  about  ether."  We  find  this  state- 
ment fully  sustained  by  the  testimony  of  Francis  Whitman.    H^3  says: 


"I  told  Dr.  Morton  I  knew  what  it  was  that  William  had  brought,  and 
.  said  it  was  c'  loric  ether.  Dr.  M.  then  said  he  wished  to  know  if  ether 
would  dissolvo  India  rubber,  and  sent  Wm.  P.  Leavitt  to  inquire  of  Dr. 
Gay  if  it  wotid.  About  this  time  Dr.  M.  asked  me  to  get  the  books  on 
chemistry,  and  find  what  they  said  about  ether.  I  did  so,  and  read  it. 
over  to  him,  nnd  I  think  he  went  to  Burnett's  to  see  if  he  could  find 
something  the  re." 

Your  comnnttee  are  satisfied  from  the  statement  of  Dr.  Morton,  and 
from  the  evidence  by  which  it  is  thus  far  fully  corroborated,  that  prior 
to  and  on  the  30th  of  September,  1846,  he  was  occupied  with  the  con- 
viction that  an  anaesthetic  agent  might  be  discovered  which  would  re- 
move all  insensibility  to  pain  in  patients  submitted  to  the  operations  of 
the  dentist ;  tKat  sulphuric  ether  was.  the  agent ;  and  that  perfect  suc- 
cess required  only  full  assurance  of  its  safety,  ether  of  a  good  quality, 
and  the  prope -•  mode  of  administering  it;  that  he  sought  assurance  of 
these  by  cons'  alting  books  to  which  he  had  access,  and  learned  meu 
from  whom  L3  could  obtain  the  current  knowledge  and  experience  of 
the  day. 

On  the  30ta  of  September,  1846,  as  he  declares,  he  called  on  Dr. 
Jackson  with  a  view  of  obtaining  such  information  as  would,  if  possi- 
ble, remove  the  difficulties  which  he  had  encountered,  and  at  the  same 
time  with  a  determination  to  conceal  from  him  the  object  of  his  long 
and  earnest  pursuit,  lest  his  hint  should  be  taken  and  he  be  anticipated 
in  this  discovery.  There  were  four  persons  present  at  this  interview, 
and  each  gives  an  account  different  from  the  rest  as  to  what  occurred 
at  it.  All,  however,  agree  in  one  particular,  namel}'^,  that  Dr.  Morton 
assumed  total  ignorance  of  sulphuric  ether,  its  nature  and  qualities,  and 
left  the  impre.-sion  on  the  minds  of  those  present  that  he  knew  nothing 
of  it.  That  he  did  at  that  time  in  fact  know  much  of  sulphuric  ether; 
that  it  had  for  many  months  preceding  been  the  subject  of  his  earnest 
thought  and  ^iedulous  inquiry;  that  his  mind  was  so  much  possessed 
with  it  that  he  feared,  in  every  one  with  whom  he  conversed,  a  rival 
who  might  an  dcipate  him  in  the  discovery  and  development  of  its  quali- 
ties, is  provefi  to  the  entire  satisfaction  of  your  committee.  A  former 
committee  of 'his  House,  to  whose  able  report  we  shall  often  have  occa- 
sion to  refer,  speaking  of  the  disguise  thus  practised  by  Dr.  Morton, 
says : 

"This  does  not  militate  against  the  general  effect  of  the  statement 
•  of  Dr.  Morton.  He  went,  as  he  says,  to  Dr.  Jackson  to  obtain  certain 
information  ;  lut  at  the  same  time  anxious  to  conceal  from  him  the 
object  of  his  pursuit,  being  fearful  lest  Dr.  Jackson  might  anticipate 
him  in  bringir.ig  the  discovery  to  perfection.  We  deal  with  this  matter 
as  a  question  of  fact,  not  of  morals,  and  do  not  decide  whether  Dr. 
Morton  niight,  consistently  with  the  obligations  which  truth  imposes, 
use  artificial  means  to  conceal  a  mental  conception  which  he  did  not 
wish  to  divulge.  We  believe,  however,  where  a  person  has  a  right  to 
his  secret,  and  is  under  no  obligations  to  disclose  it,  a  direct  denial  of 
that  which  wr  s  fact,  for  the  purpose  of  such  concealment,  has  not  been 
visited  with  t  hrong  moral  censure.  We  would  instance  the  case  of 
Walter  Scott  at  the  table  of  George  4th,  who,  when  toasted  by  his 
majesty  as  tl4»*author  of  Waverly,  declared  he  was  not  the  author;" 


Yovir  committee  concur  in  the  opinion  that  if-any  moral  censure  is  to 
be  visited  upon  Dr.  Morton  for  a  studied  concealment  of  his  possession 
of  what  be  deemed  to  be  a  treasure  above  all  price,  and  for  the  safety 
of  which  he  so  much  feared,  that  censure  must  be  slight  indeed.  His 
account  of  the  interview  will  be  found  in  his  memoir  to  the  Academy 
of  Arts  and  Sciences  at  Paris,  above  set  out. 

Doctor  Jackson,  M'ho  first  publicly  made  claim  to  the  discovery  after 
its  immense  importance  was  established  by  several  safe  and  painless 
operations  under  its  influence  in  the  Medical  Hospital,  avers  that  he 
first  disclosed  to  Dr.  Morton  the  use  of  the  vapor  of  pure  sulphuric 
ether  on  the  30th  of  September;  that  he  then  communicated  to  him 
his  prior  discovery  of  its  anesthetic  qualities,  and  assured  him  that  it 
would  prevent  all  pain  in  a  surgical  operation,  and  thitt  it  could  be 
used  with  perfect  safety;  in  short,  that  he.  Dr.  Jacl^son,  then  employed 
Dr.  Morton  as  his  agent,  operator,  or  "  nurse,"  to  administer  this  pain- 
destroying  vapor;  and  that  then,  in  the  presence  of  two  witnesses,  he 
distinctly  took  upon  himself  all  the  responsibility  of  its  administration. 

One  of  the  witnesses  present,  George  O.  Barnes,  sustains  Dr.  Jackson's 
statement  in  two  material  points,  namely,  that  when  he  advised  the  ad- 
ministration of  sulphuric  ether,  he  averred  that  it  would  render  the  ope- 
ration painless,  and  that  it  was  safe,  and  he  would  be  responsible  for  its 

The  other  witness,  James  Mclntire,  though  evidently  testifying  with 
a  strong  opinion  against  Dr.  Morton,  does  not  support  Dr.  Jackson  on 
either  of  these  important  points.  He  says.  Dr.  Jackson  advised  the  use 
of  sulphuric  either ;  said  it  was  safe,  and  that  it  "  would  make  the  pa- 
tients insensible  and"  the  operator  "  could  do  what  he  had  a  mind  to  with 
them."  But  he  states  no  assumption  of  responsibilitj'^,  and  no  opin- 
ion or  assurance  of  Dr.  Jackson,  that  the  vapor  of  sulphuric  either  would 
render  the  patient  so  insensible  as  not  to  perceive  pain.  The  evidence 
of  these  witnesses  will  be  more  particularly  considered  in  another  con- 
nexion. Suffice  it  for  the  present  to  say  that,  your  committee  are  satis- 
fied that  Dr.  Jackson  did  not,  on  that  dajr,  ''expressly'"  assume  any  such 
responsibility.  They  cannot  credit  it,  for  it  is  proved  by  evidence,  and 
was  admitted  in  the  argument  by  Dr.  Jackson's  counsel  before  a  former 
committee  of  this  House,  that  the  morning  after  the  successful  operation 
of  September  30,  when  the  same  was  reported  to  him,  he  refused  a  cer- 
tificate in  writing  to  Dr.  Morton  that  the  vapor  might  be  inhaled  with 
safety.  Dr.  Jackson  could  not,  as  an  honorable  man,  have  taken  the 
responsibility  orally  of  the  exhibition  of  a  medical  prescription,  claimed 
as  his  own'^and  exhibited  by  an  agent  or  operator  under  his  instruction  ; 
and,  forthwith,  thereafter,  have  refused  to  assume  the  same  responsibility 
in  writing.  And,  indeed,  it  is  usual  for  physicians  to  give  their  prescrip- 
tions in  writing,  not  orally.  Nor  do  your  committee  beiieve  that  Dr. 
Jackson  on  that  occasion  declared  that  the  inhalation  of  the  vapor  of 
sulphuic  ether,  within  safe  and  proper  limits,  would  render  the  operation 
painless.  If  he  had  advanced  such  an  opinion,  it  could  not  have  failed 
to  be  noticed  and  remembered  by  his  student,  Mr.  IMcIntire.  for  it  would 
have  been  the  first  notice  to  him  of  a  miracle  in  surgerj'.  But  Dr.  Jack- 
son's conversation  with  Mr.  Caleb  Eddy  on  the  23(1  of  October,  1846, 
and  with  the  Hon.  Edward  Warren,  is  in  the  opinion  of  your  commit- 
tee conclusive  upon  this  subject.    On  the  evening  of  that  day  Dr.  Jack- 


son  visited  Mr.  Eddy,  and  gave  an  account  of  his  conversation  between 
him  and  Dr.  Mortonof  September  30,  which  the  witness  having  detailed, 
says:  "After  Dr.  Jackson  had  related  the  above,  I  said  to  him,  'Dr. 
Jackson,  did  von  know  at  such  time,  that  after  a  person  had  inhaled 
ether,  and  was  asleep,  his  flesh  could  be  cut  with  a  knife  without  his 
experiencing  any  pain?'  He  replied, 'No,  nor  Morton  either;  he  is  a 
reckless  man  tor  useing  it  as  he  has;  the  chance  is,  he  will  kill  some- 
body yet.'"  And  the  Hon.  E.  Warren,  in  his  letter,  says  :  "  Dr.  Jackson 
told  me,  in  substance,  that  the  so-called  discovery  was  not  his,  but  that  Dr.. 
Morton  was  responsible  for  it ;  that  the  new  use  of  ether  was  dangerous, 
and  would,  he  feared,  be  attended  with  fatal  consequences,  that  he  (Dr. 
Jackson)  was  not  answerable  for  the  results,  and  that,  therefore,  he 
would  refer  me  to  Dr.  Morton  for  further  information." 

We  cannot  better  express  our  views  as  to  the  interview  of  30th  Sep- 
tember, and  the  exact  value  of  the  evidence  which  relates  to  it,  than  by 
quoting  from  the  report  of  the  former  committtee  of  this  House  to  which 
we  have  already  referred.  After  a  close  and  careful  examination  of  the 
statements,  and  evidence  in  reference  to  this  interview,  they  say : 

"  The  evidence,  then,  amounts  to  this :  Dr.  Morton  came  into  Dr.  Jack- 
son's office,  having  in  his  hand  a  gas  bag,  with  which  he  proposed  to 
operate  on  the  imagination  of  a  refractory  patient  by  administering  to 
her  atmospheric  air.  Dr.  Jackson  ridiculed  the  idea.  Nitrous  oxide 
was  spoken  of;  Dr.  Jackson  objected  to  that,  saying  to  Mr.  Morton  that 
if  he  attempted  to  make  it,  it  would  become  nitric  oxide.  He  then  sug- 
gested sulphuric  ether,  and  said  it  would  make  the  patient  insensible, 
and  Morton  could  do  what  he  pleased  with  her.  This  conversation,  it 
will  be  noted,  all  took  place  about  a  refractory  patient;  the  object  con- 
sidered was  the  mode  of  bringing  a  nervous  patient  to  a  condition  in 
which  she  could  be  operated  upon,  not  in  which  she  would  feel  no  pain 
from  the  operation.  Mr.  Mclntire  says  not  one  word  about  pain  or 
its  absence  in  the  operation — but  that  the  operator  could  do  what  he 
pleased  with  the  patient  under  the  influence  of  sulphuric  ether.  If  this 
conclusion  be  correct,  the  information  given  by  Dr.  Jackson  to  Dr. 
Morton  was  no  more  than  the  cm-rent  knowledge  of  the  age — no  more 
than  he  would  have  been  told  by  any  scientific  man,  or  than  he  would 
have  read  in'books  which  treat  of  chemistry  and  medicine;  and  if  it 
differed  in  anything  from  the  general  opinion  of  scientific  men,  it  was 
in  a  stronger  than  ordinary  assurance  that  the  vapor  was  not  injui'ious 
to  health.  At  the  same  time,  it  is  very  clear  to  your  committee  that 
Dr.  Morton  relied  more  implicitly  on  information  which  he  obtained 
from  Dr.  Jackson  than  from  any  other  source,  and  that  the  information 
was  given  with  the  unhesitating  confidence  arising  from  a  consciousness 
of  high  scientific  attainments. 

"  This  view  of  the  subject  awards  to  Dr.  Jackson  the  merit  of  greatly 
aiding  by  his  advice  and  instructions  in  the  discovery.  He  did  not  him- 
self produce  the  result,  which  was  new;  or  by  his  information  carry 
knowledge  in  that  direction,  beyond  the  point  it  had  already  reached. 
He  was  a  safe  and  reliable  guide  to  its  then  utmost  limit  in  that  direc- 
tion—the  Caipe  and  Abyla  of  scientific  research— but  left  the  sea  be- 
yond to  be  explored  by  others." 

Doctor  Morton  having  obtained  such  further  information  of  the 
properties  and  preparation  of  sulphuric  ether  as  Dr.  Jackson  could 


give  him,  and  having  heard  from  him  an  opinion  that  it  might  be 
administered  palely,  returned  to  his  house,  procured  a  fresh  supply  of 
the  ether,  and,  as  he  says,  tried  upon  himself  the  experiment  of  its 
inhalation,  the  manner  and  elfects  of  which  are  fully  stated  in  his 
memoir  above  set  forth.  We  have  no  reason  to  doubt  the  entire 
truth  and  accuracy  of  this  statement,  though  from  the  natm-e  of 
the  transaction  he  cannot  verify  it  by  direct  evidence.  Almost  im- 
mediately after  he  recovered  consciousness,  and  while  he  was  elate  with 
the  success  of  his  recent  experiment,  and  lull  of  iresh  and  newly  awa- 
kened confidence,  a  stout  laboring  man,  in  agony  with  the  tooth-ache, 
entered  and  desired  to  have  his  tooth  extracted,  but  shrunk  from  the 
apprehended  pain.  He  asked  to  be  mesmerized.  Dr.  Morton  told  him 
he  had  a  better  application  than  mesmerism,  which  he  proposed  to  use. 
The  man  without  much  inquiry,  on  the  assurance  that  it  was  safe  and 
would  alleviate  the  pain,  consented,  and  in  five  minutes  after  he  had 
taken  his  seat  in  the  operator's  chair  the  great  discovery  was  verified. 

The  special  circumstances  attendant  on  this  first  actual  experiment, 
were  most  fortunate  for  Dr.  Morton — for  the  cause  of  surgical  scicence — 
and  for  the  human  race.  The  patient,  owing  to  his  intense  suffering, 
was  glad  to  avail  himself  of  any  thing,  real  or  imaginary,  to  relieve  the 
pain  which  he  felt,  and  to  mitigate  that  which  he  feared.  He  therefore 
inhaled  the  vtipor  freely,  and  delighted  with  the  soothing  lenitive,  he 
continued  to  inhale  it  eagerly,  until  anaesthesia  being  complete,  he  had 
forgotten  his  past  sufferings  and  was  beyond  the  reach  of  present  pain. 
He  was  a  man  of  vigorous  constitution;  he  immediately  rallied,  uncon- 
scious of  the  operation  which  had  been  performed,  and  wholly  relieved 
fi'om  the  pain  which  so  lately  afflicted  him.  If  in  his  stead,  the  boy, 
who  sickened  with  the  inhalation,  and  whose  parents,  believing  him  poi- 
soned, threatened  a  prosecution,  had  been  the  first  subject,  the  experi- 
ments would  probably  have  gone  no  further ;  Dr.  Morton  would  have 
been  overwhelmed  with  censure  and  ridicule,  and  we  do  not  think  that 
either  of  the  contestants  would  have  come  in  to  assert  his  claim  to  the 
disgrace  of  the  failure.  Considering  the  result,  it  is  not  a  matter  of  sur- 
prise that  Dr.  Morton  was  elate  with  his  success.  He  immediately  an- 
nounced it  to  those  about  him,  though  he  concealed  from  them  all,  except 
Hayden,  the  agent  with  which  the  anaesthesia  had  been  effected.  He 
immediately  obtained  the  certificate  of  Eben  Frost,  the  subject  of  his  ex- 
periment, (which  will  be  found  in  the  App.,)  consulted  with  Dr.  Hayden 
about  testing  his  pain-subduing  vapor  in  some  operation  in  the  Hospital, 
and  next  morning  called  on  Dr.  Jackson,  informed  him  of  the  success  of 
the  experiment,  and  asked  him  for  a  certificate  that  the  vapor  was  harm- 
less in  its  effects.    This  Dr.  Jackson  refused  to  give  him. 

Dr.  Morton  gives,  in  the  paper  above  set  forth,  the  subsequent  steps 
taken  by  him  to  perfect  and  verify  his  discovery.  His»general  narrative 
of  alternate  success  and  discouragement  in  the  cases  arising  in  his  office 
is  fully  corroborated  by  Dr.  Hayden.    He  says : 

"The  first  successful  experiment  upon  any  patient  was  made  Septem- 
ber 30,  184G,  by  inhaling  ether  through  a  folded  cloth,  and  on  that  occa- 
sion a  tooth  was  extracted  without  pain.  We  tried  repeated  experi- 
ments with  the  same  means  subsequently,  and  they  all  resulted  in  total 
failures.  Dr.  M.  said  that  Dr.  .laclcson  recommended  a  certain  appra- 
tus,  which  he  lent  Dr.  Morton  from  his  laboratory,  consisting  of  a  glass 


tube  of  equal  size  throughout,  having  a  neck,  and  being  about  three  feet 
long.  This  was  likewise  a  total  failure.  So  far,  all  our  experiments, 
with  one  exception,  proving  abortive,  we  found  that  a  different  appara- 
tus must  be  obtained,  and  it  was  at  this  time  that  Dr.  M.  procured,  from 
Mr.  Wightman,  of  Cornhill,  a  conical  glass  tube,  with  which,  by  inser- 
ting a  sponge  saturated  wii.h  ether  in  the  larger  end,  we  had  better  suc- 
cess, and  our  experiments  began  to  assume  a  more  promising  aspect.  _ 

"Still,  our  success  was  not  uniform,  and  far  from  perfe'ct.  At  this 
time,  Dr.  M.  suggested  that  our  failures  might  be  owing  to  the  fact  that, 
in  all  our  experiments  so  far,  the  patient  had  breathed  the  expired  vapor 
back  into  the  vessel,  thus  inhaling  the  same  over  and  over.  He  then 
stated  that  the  expired  air  should  pass  of  into  the  surrounding  atmos- 
phere, and  wished  me  to  make  a  pattern  for  an  apparatus,  by  which  the 
air  should  pass  into  the  vessel,  combine  with  the  ether,  be  inhaled  into 
the  lungs,  and  the  expired  air  thrown  off  into  the  room.  This  idea,  as 
thus  forced  upon  him,  and  communicated  to  me,  was  fully  elaborated, 
and  corresponds  most  accurately  with  the  apparatus  now  in  use  in  this 
country  and  in  Europe,  and  for  which  Dr.  M.  has  applied  for  letters  pa- 
tent. I  replied,  that  he  had  explained  his  idea  so  clearly  that  he  would 
have  no  difficulty  in  directing  a  philosophical-instrument  maker  to  man- 
ufacture a  proper  inhaler  at  once,  without  a  pattern,  and  recommended 
him  to  Mr.  Chamberlain,  in  School  street,  to  whom  he  applied  accord- 
ingly, and  who  made,  as  thus  desired,  the  first  inhaler.  And  with  such 
an  apparatus,  we  have  had  almost  uniform  success  to  this  day,  the  re- 
sults of  which  are  known  to  the  world. 

"  And  I  will  here  state  that,  on  the  evening  of  the  30th  of  September, 
after  the  first  experiment  had  been  made  with  success.  Dr.  Morton  spoke 
about  going  to  the  hospital  and  using  the  ether  there,  and  thus  bring  out 
the  new  discovery.  After  several  other  successful  experiments,  the 
question  came  up  anew,  how  to  introduce  it  to  the  world,  when  Dr.  M. 
stated  that  Dr.  Jackson  had  declined  to  countenance  it,  or  aid  in  bring- 
ing out,  and  then  he  (Dr.  M.)  said  he  would  see  Dr.  Warren,  and  have 
his  discovery  introduced  into  the  Massachusetts  General  Hospital.  He 
went  out  and  soon  returned,  stating  that  Dr.  W.  had  agreed  to  afford 
him  an  opportunity  to  apply  the  vapor,  as  soon  as  practicable,  in  the 

-*  So  much  for  what  occurred  in  the  office  of  Dr.  Morton,  his  difficulties, 
and  the  skill  and  energy  with  which  he  overcame  them.  But  his  dis- 
covery was  now  to  come  before  the  world,  and  from  the  time  of  its  ad- 
vent, witnesses  multiply  on  us  in  numbers  too  great  for  all  to  receive 
even  a  passing  notice.  The  following  is  an  account  given  by  Dr.  Hay- 
ward,  a  short  time  after,  of  the  first  introduction  of  the  vapor  of  ether 
into  the  Massachusetts  General  Hospital — 

"  The  ether  was  administered  at  the  hospital  by  Dr.  Morton  on  the 
16th  of  October,  to  a  man  upon  whom  Dr.  Warren  was  to  operate  for  a 
tumor  on  the  face.  The  effect  in  this  case  was  not  complete ;  the  suf- 
fering, however,  was  very  much  less  than  it  would  have  been  under 
ordinary  circumstances,  and  the  result  was  on  the  whole  so  satisfactory 
that  a  second  trial  was  made  on  the  following  day. 

"The  patient  to  whom  the  ether  was  administered  on  the  17th  of 
October  was  a  female  with  a  fatty  tumor  on  the  arm,  between  the 


shoulder  and  the  elbow.  At  the  request  of  Dr.  Warren  I  did  the  opera- 
tion. The  patient  was  insensible  during  the  whole  time,  and  was  en- 
tirely unconscious.  The  operation  lasted  about  seven  minutes,  but 
could  not  be  regarded  as  a  severe  one. 

"  These  are  the  first  surgical  operations,  except  those  of  dentistry,  that 
were  ever  performed  on  patients  while  under  the  influence  of  the  ether. 

"On  the  1st  of  November  I  took  charge  of  the  surgical  department  of 
the  hospital;  and  on  the  following  day,  in  conversation  with  Dr.  War- 
ren, I  stated  that  I  did  not  intend  to  allow  the  medical  patients  to  inhale 
this  preparation  of  Dr.  Morton  (for  we  were  then  ignorant  of  the  precise 
nature  of  it)  during  my  period  of  service,  unless  all  the  surgeons  of  the 
hospital  were  told  what  it  was,  and  were  satisfied  of  the  safety  of  using 
it.    Dr.  Warren  agreed  with  me  as  to  the  propriety  of  this  course'. 

"  On  the  6th  of  November,  Dr.  Morton  called  at  my  house  and  asked  me 
if  I  was  willing  to  have  his  preparation  inhaled  by  a  patient,  whose 
limb  I  was  to  amputate  on  the  following  day.  I  told  him  of  the  con- 
versation I  had  had  with  with  Dr.  Warren  on  the  subject.  Dr.  Morton 
at  once  said  that  he  was  ready  to  let  us  know  what  the  article  was, 
and  to  give  the  surgeons  of  the  hospital  the  right  to  use  it  there  when 
they  pleased.  He  added,  that  he  would  send  me  a  letter  in  the  course 
of  the  day  to  this  effect.  I  requested  him  to  address  it  to  Dr.  Warren, 
as  he  was  the  senior  surgeon,  and  told  him  that  I  would  submit  it  to  my 
colleagues  at  a  consultation  to  be  held  on  the  following  morning.  He 
wrote  the  letter  accordingly ;  the  subject  was  maturely  considered  by 
the  surgeons,  who  were  unanimously  of  opinion  that  the  ether  should 
be  inhaled  by  the  individual  who  was  to  undergo  the  operation  that 

"The  patient  was  a  girl  of  twenty  years  of  age,  named  Alice  Mohan, 
who  had  suffered  for  two  years  from  a  disease  of  the  knee,  which  termi- 
nated in  suppuration  of  the  joint  and  caries  of  the  bones.  For  some 
months  before  the  operation,  her  constitutional  symptoms  had  become 
threatening,  and  the  removal  of  the  limb  seemed  to  be  the  only  chance 
for  her  life.  The  ether  was  administered  by  Dr.  Morton.  In  a  little 
more  than  three  minutes  she  was  brought  under  the  influence  of  it ;  the 
limb  was  removed,  and  all  the  vessels  were  tied  but  the  last,  which  was 
the  sixth,  before  she  gave  any  indication  of  consciousnes's  or  suffering. 
She  then  groaned  and  cried  out  faintly.  She  afterwards  said  that  she 
was  wholly  unconscious  and  insensible  up  to  that  time,  and  she  seemed 
to  be  much  surprised  when  she  was  told  that  her  limb  was  off.  She  re- 
covered rapidlv,  suffering  less  than  patients  usuall)'-  do  after  amputation 
of  the  thigh,  regained  her  strength  and  flesh,  and  was  discharged  well 
on  the  22d  of  December." 

Nor  are  there  wanting  abundant  contemporary  papers  attesting  the 
discovery,  recognising  Dr.  Morton  as  its  ^luthor,  and  showing  its  rapid 
advance  to  the  full  confidence  of  the  public.  (See  Appendix.)  We  give 
below  a  copy  of  the  letter  written  by  Dr.  Hayward,  at  the  request  of 
Dr.  Warren,  inviting  Dr.  Morton  to  attend  at  the  first  of  the  above  named 
surgical  operations,  and  administer  to  the  patient : 

"  Dear  Sir  :  I  write  at  the  request  of  Dr.  J.  C.  Warren,  to  invite  )'ou 
to  be  present  on  Friday  morning  at  10  o'clock  at  the  hospital,  to  admin- 


ister  to  a  patient  who  is  then  to  be  operated  upon  the  preparation  which 
you  have  invented  to  diminish  the  sensibility  to  pain. 

"  Yours,  respectfully, 

"C.  F.  HAYWARD, 
''House  Surgeon  to  the  General  Hospital,  October  14ih,  1846. 
"  Dr.  Morton,  Tremont  Row." 

Dr.  Hayward  states  above  that  Dr.  Morton,  on  the  6th  of  November, 
1846,  addressed  a  letter  to  Dr.  Warren  informing  him  that  the  anaesthe- 
tic agent  which  he  used  was  the  vapor  of  sulphuric  ether,  and  offering 
the  free  use  of  it  to  the  hospital.  We  give  below  Dr.  Warren's  brief 
note  in  reply : 

"  Deak  Sir  :  I  beg  leave  to  acknowledge  the  reception  of  your  polite 
letter.  I  shall  lose  no  time  in  laying  it  before  the  surgeons  of  the 

"  I  remain  respectfully,  yours, 
"Park  street,  November  6th."  "J.  C.  WARREN. 

We  think  proper  also  to  insert  two  other  notes  written  December 
11th,  1846;  one  by  Dr.  Hayward,  at  the  request  of  Dr.  Warren ;  the 
other  by  Dr.  Warren  himself;  both  relative  to  an  operation  to  be  per- 
formed on  the  12th;  also,  a  certificate  of  Dr.  Warren  of  January  16th, 

"  Sir  :  I  am  requested  by  Dr;  Warren  to  ask  you,  if  convenient  to 
yourself,  to  a*lminister  your  preparation  to  a  patient  from  whom  a  part 
of  the  upper  jaw  is  to  be  removed.  The  operation  will  be  done  by  Dr. 
Warren  to-morrow  at  11,  A.  M.  "Yours,  &c., 

"C.  F.  HAYWA.RD, 
"M.  G.  Hospital,  December  11,  1846. 

"  Dr.  Morton,  Tremont  Row." 

"  Dr.  Morton — Dear  Sir :  I  inclose  a  note  which  I  have  just  received 
D'om  Dr.  Brown.  I  think  there  would  be  a  propriety  in  granting  his 
request.  There  will  be  an  operation  at  the  hospital  to  morrow  at  11 
o'clock,  at  which  I  shall  be  glad  to  have  your  aid,  if  perfectly  convenient. 

"  Truly  yours, 

"2,  Park,street,  X)ecem6er  11."  "J.  C.  WARREN. 

"  Boston,  January  6, 1 847. 
"I  hereby  declare  and  certify,  to  the  best  of  my  knowledge  and  recol- 
lection, that  ]  never  heard  of  the  use  of  sulphuric  ether  by  inhalation  as 
a  means  of  preventing  the  pain  of  surgical  operations,  until  it  was 
suggested  by  Dr.  Morton  in  the  latter  part  of  October,  1846. 

"  Professor  of  Anatomy  and  Surgery  of 

the  Massachusetts  General  Hospital." 

The  papers  given  above  show  how,  in  the  ordinary  course  of  things, 
a  discovery  like  this  inscribes  itself  at  once  on  something  more  exact 
and  more  dui  able  than  mere  human  memory. 

Your  committee  will  add  to  the  above  a  letter  from  Dr.  Warren  to 
their  chairman,  and  a  copy  of  the  first  entry  in  the  records  of  the  Mas- 
sachusetts General  Hospital,  touching  the  introduction  of  sulphuric 
ether  in  their  surgical  operations : 


"  Boston,  January  21, 1852. 
"Sir:  Havinp;  had  iVio  honor  of  iTcrivinfr  from  you  somr  questions  re- 
lating to  the  elhei'eal  inhalation,  1  have  made  good  and  true  answers 
thereto,  which  I  beg  leave  to  enclose,  and  with  these  a  si  ort  statement 
of  the  first  instance  of  ethereal  inhalation,  which  the  committee  can  re- 
fer to  if  their  time  and  inclination  permit, 

"  1  have  the  honor  to  be,  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 


"Hon.  W.  H.  BissELL." 

"Boston,  January  21,  1852. 

"  1.  Chloric  ether  and  sulphuric  ether  are  used  in  our  hos^pital.  Chloro- 
form is  not,  having  been  known  to  be  fatal  in  many  cases.  The  first  sur- 
gicnl  operation  with  ether  was  done  by  me,  at  the  request  of  Dr.  Wm. 
T.  G.  Morton,  on  ihe  16th  of  October,  1846.  The  circum  tances  of  the 
case  are  in  a  separate  paper  herewith  enclosed. 

"2.  Ether  is  used  in  our  hospital  in  all  operations  acc(  mpanied  with 
much  pain.  Its  eflect  is  very  remarkable  in  the  prevention  of  pain,  in 
all  cases  when  properly  administered.  In  my  address  to  the  American 
■Medical  Association  at  Cincinnati,  in  May,  1850,  I  stated  that  I  had 
mj'self  employed  sulphuric  and  chloric  ether,  or  seen  them  employed,  in 
more  than  1,500  cases.  From  that  time  to  the  present,  ]  cannot  speak 
with  numerical  accuracy,  but  I  suppose  the  cases  have  eideeded  1,000 ; 
thus  making  an  aggregate  of  more  than  2,500.  In  no  on  ^  instance  has 
any  serious  result  happened  to  the  patient  within  my  kno  -vledge. 

"3.  As  to  the  diminution  of  mortality,  it  is  entirely  impossible  to  give 
any  definite  answer;  but  the  diminution  of  suffering  may  be  supposed 
to  diminish  mortality  by  removing  one  of  its  causes. 

"4.  In  my  private  practice  I  have  always  used  ether  for  the  prevention 
of  pain  in  severe  surgical  operations,  and  usually,  if  not  universally, 
with  great  relief  to  the  patient  and  satisftxction  to  myseilf 

"5.  The  medical  faculty  within  my  knowledge  generallv  consider  the 
application  of  ether  to  the  prevention  of  pain  as  the  most  valuable  ad- 
dition to  the  m.eans  of  relieving  human  suffering  since  the  introduction 
of  vaccination. 


First  case  of  ethereal  inhalation.    Copied  from  the  surgical  records  of 
the  Massachusetts  General  Hospital. 

"  This  case  is  remarkable  in  the  annals  of  surgery.  Ic  was  the  first 
surgical  operation  performed  under  the  influence  of  ether.  Dr.  Warren 
had  been  applied  to  by  Dr.  Morton,  a  dentist,  with  the  roquest  that  he 
would  try  the  inhalation  of  a  fluid,  which  he  said  he  h;  d  found  to  be 
effectual  in  preventing  pain  during  operations  on  the  tee  h.  Dr.  War- 
ren having  satisfied  himself  that  the  breathing  of  the  lluid  would  be 
harmless,  agreed  to  employ  it  when  an  opportunity  presented.  None 
occurring  in  private  practice  within  a  day  or  two,  he  determined  to  use 
it  on  this  patient. 

"Before  the  operation  began  some  time  was  lost  in  waiting  for  Dr. 
Morton,  and  ultimately  it  was  thought  he  would  not  appear.  At 
length  he  arrived,  and  explained  his  detention  by  informing:  Dr.  Warren 
that  he  had  been  occupied  in  preparing  his  apparatus,  wMich  consisted 


of  a  tube  connected  witli  a  glass  globe.  This  apparatus  he  then  pro- 
ceeded to  apply,  and  after  four  or  five  minutes  the  patient  appeared  to 
be  asleep,  and  the  operation  was  performed  as  above  described.  To 
the  surprise  of  Dr.  Warren  and  the  other  gentlemen  present,  the  patient 
did  not  shrink  nor  cry  out;  but  during  the  insulation  of  the  veins  he  be- 
gan to  move  his  limbs  and  utter  extraordinary  expressions.  These  move- 
ments seemed  to  indicate  the  existence  of  pain,  but  after  he  had  recovered 
his  faculties  he  said  he  had  experienced  none,  but  only  a  sensation  like 
that  of  scraping  the  part  with  a  blunt  instrument,  and  he  ever  after  con- 
tinued to  say  he  had  not  felt  any  pain.  The  result  of  this  operation  led 
to  the  repetition  of  the  use  of  ether  in  other  cases,  and  in  a  few  days  its 
success  was  established,  and  its  use  resorted  to  in  every  considerable 
operation  in  the  city  of  Boston  ^nd  its  vicinity." 

By  these  operations,  performed  in  a  public  hospital  before  professional 
men  of  the  highest  intelligence,  and  the  perfect  success  of  the  ethereal 
vapor  in  annihilating  all  pain,  its  evident  safety,  and  the  readiness  of 
recovery  from  the  anccsthetic  state,  which  resembled  the  waking  from 
a  deep  and  quiet  sleep,  a  profound  impression  was  made  upon  the  public 
mind.  In  that  of  the  surgical  faculty  it  rose  to  enthusiasm.  The  suc- 
cess of  the  discovery  was  established;  Boston,  its  native  city,  was  proud 
of  its  maternity,  and  it  was  about  to  be  hailed  in  Europe,  whither  a 
power  swifter  than  the  winds  was  wafting  it,  with  wonder  and  applause. 

During  all  this  time  Dr.  Morton  alone  claimed  the  discovery  and 
conducted  the  experiments.  '  He  had  staked  'every  thing  dear  in  life,  his 
hopes  of  fortune  and  fame,  upon  the  discovery.  He  gave  his  labor  by 
day  and  his  thoughts  by  night  to  the  perfecting  of  all  that  was  incom- 
plete in  its  application ;  and  in  the  language  of  the  report  of  the  Trus- 
tess  of  the  Massachusetts  General  Hospital,  "it  is  a  mortifying  fact  that 
Dr.  Morton's  pecuniary  affairs  have  become  embarrassed  in  consequence 
of  the  interruption  of  his  regular  business,  resulting  from  his  efforts  and 
experiments  in  establishing  this  great  truth,  and  that  his  health  has  also 
severely  suffered  from  the  same  cause,  so  that  he  can  devote  only  a 
small  part  of  each  day  to  his  professional  labors.  He  became  poor  in  a 
cause  which  has  made  the  world  his  debtor.  The  committee  have  the 
highest  medical  authority  (that  of  Dr.  Homans)  for  saying  that  from 
living  so  much  of  late  in  an  atmosphere  of  ether,  and  from  the  anxiety 
attendirig  the  various  trials  and  experiments  connected  with  the  dis- 
covery, and  from  the  excitement  caused  by  the  controversies  which  it  has 
occasioned,  the  health  of  Dr,  Morton  has  become  such  that  he  is  unable 
to  attend  to  his  professional  duties  to  any  extent."  And  it  was  not  until 
all  was  complete  and  completely  verified,  not  until  some  time  after  the 
operation  of  the  2d  of  January,  1847,  did  any  rival  appear  and  publicly 
claim  the  discovery,  or  even  a  participation  in  it. 

Subsequent  to  that  time,  however,  public  claims  to  the  whole  honor 
of  the  discovery  have  been  advanced  and  are  now  urged  before  your 
committee,  by  Dr.  Charles  T.  .Tackson  for  himself,  and  lor  Dr,  Horace 
Wells,  deceased,  by  his  personal  representatives.  On  both  of  these  w^e 
have  touched  in  our  examination  of  the  difScovery  as  connected  with  Dr. 
Morton,  and  we  now  propose  to  give  to  the  claim  of  each  a  separate 

The  first  public  appearance  of  Dr.  Jackson  at  the  hospital  during  the 
performance  of  an  operation  under  the  influence  of  the  newly  discovered 



anaesthetic  agent,  ic  shown  in  the  following  extract  from'  a  letter  of  Dr. 
S.  D.  Townsend,  one  of  the  surgeons  of  the  hospital,  dated  January  2*jlh 

"  Dr.  Jackson  presented  himself  for  the  first  time  on  the  2d  of  January, 
1847,  and  brought  with  him  a  bag  of  oxygen  gas  as  an  antidote  to 
asphyxia.  I  have  had  this  date  always  fixed  in  n\y  mind  by  the  iact 
that  1  performed  an  amputation  on  that  day  under  the  influence  of  ether, 
and  this  is  also  confirmed  by  the  records  of  the  hospital." 

Dr.  Jackson  in  a  letter  addressed  by  him  to  Baron  Van  Humboldt, 
dated  November  22,  1851,  a  copy  of  which  he  filed  with  your  commit- 
tee, in  support  of  his  claim  to  the  discovery,  after  giving  an  account 
of  the  habitual  use  of  the  vapor  of  sulphuric  ether  for  the  purposes 
and  in  the  manner  which  we  have  shown  to  have  been  familiar  with 
the  medical  faculty,  since  about  the  year  1795,  states  the  facts, 
and  details  the  circumstances,  which  he  alleges  to  have  attended 
its  inhalation  by  himself  in  the  winter  of  1841-42 ;  and  gives  at  length 
what  he  says  were  his  deductions  from  the  phenomena  consequent  on 
that  inhalation.    He  says: 

"The  circumstances  were  as  follows:  In  the  winter  of  1841-42, 1 
was  employed  to  give  a  few  lectures  before  the  Mechanic's  Charitable 
Association  in  Boston,  and  in  my  last  lecture,  which  I  think  was  in  the 
month  of  February,  I  had  occasion  to  show  a  number  of  experiments  in 
illustration  of  the  theory  of  volcanic  eruptions,  and  for  my  experiments 
I  prepared  a  large  quantity  of  chloraine  gas,  collecting  it  in  gallon  glass 
jars  over  boiling  .water.  Just  as  one  of-  these  large  jars  was  filled  with 
pure  chlorine,  it  overturned  and  broke,  and  in  my  endeavors  to  save  the 
vessel,  1  accidentally  got  my  lungs  full  of  chlorine  gas,  which  nearly 
suffocated  me,  so  that  my  life  was  in  imminent  danger.  I  immediately 
had  ether  and  ammonia  brought  to  me,  and  alternately  inhaled  .them 
with  great  relief.  The  next  morning  my  throat  was  severely  inflamed 
and  very  painful,  and  I  perceived  a  distinct  flavor  of  chlorine  in  my  breath, 
and  my  lungs  were  still  much  oppressed.  I  determined,  therefore,  to 
make  a  thorough  trial  of  the  ether  vapor,  and  for  that  purpose  went  in- 
to my  laboratory,  which  adjoins  my  house  in  Somerset  street,  and  made 
the  experiment  from  which  the  discovery  of  anaesthesia  was  induced. 
I  had  a  large  supply  of  perfectly  pure  washed  sulphuric  ether  which 
was  prepared  in  the  laboratory  of  my  friend  Mr.  John  H.  Blake  of  Bos- 
ton. I  took  a  bottle  of  that  ether  and  a  folded  towel,  and  seating  m)'- 
self  in  a  rocking  chair,  and  placing  my  feet  in  another  chair,  so  as  to 
secure  a  fixed  pcsition,  as  I  reclined  backward  in  the  one  in  which  I  was 
seated.  Soaking  the  towel  in  the  ether,  I  placed  it  over  my  nose  and 
mouth,  so  as  to  inhale  the  ether  mixed  with  the  air,  and  began  to  inhale 
the  vapor  deeply  into  my  lungs.  At  first  the  ether  made  me  cough,  but 
soon  that  irritability  ceased,  and  I  noticed  a  sense  of  coolness  followed 
by  warmth,  fulness  of  the  head  and  chest,  with  giddiness  and  exhilitation, 
numbness  of  the  feet  and  legs  followed,  a  swimming  or  floating  sensation, 
as  if  afloat  in  the  air.  This  was  accompanied  with  entire  loss  of  feeling, 
even  of  contact  with  my  chair  in  which  I  was  seated.  I  noticed  that 
all  pain  had  ceased  in  my  throat,  and  the  sensations  which  I  had  were 
of  the  most  agreeable  kind.  Much  pleased  and  excited,  I  continued  the 
inhalation  of  the  ether  vapor,  and  soon  fell  into  a  dreamy  state,  and 


then  became  unconscious  of  all  surrounding  things.  I  know  not  how 
lon<^  I  remained  in  that  state,  but  suppose  that  it  could  not  be  less  than 
a  quarter  of  an  hour,  judging  from  the  degree  of  dryness  of  the  cloth, 
which  during  the  state  of  unconsciousness  had  fallen  from  my  mouth 
and  nose  and  lay  upon  my  breast.  As  I  became  conscious,  I  observed  ^ 
still  there  was  nq  feeling  of  pain  in  my  throat,  and  my  limbs  were  still 
deeply  benumbed,  as  if  tJw  nerves  of  sensation  were  paralyzed.  A  strange 
thrilling  now  began  to  be  felt  along  the  spine,  but  it  was  not  in  any 
way  disagreeable.  Little  by  little  sensation  began  to  manifest  itself, 
first  in  the  throat  and  body,  and  gradually  extended  to  the  extremities,  . 
but  it  was  sometime  before  full  sensation  returned,  and  my  throat  be- 
came really  painful. 

"  Reflecting  upon  these  phenomena,  the  idea  flashed  into  my  mind,  that 
1  had  made  the  discovert/ 1  had  for  so  long  a  time  been  in  guest  of— a,  means 
of  rendering  the  nerves  of  sensation  temporarily  insensible  to  pain,  so 
as  to  admit  of  the  performance  of  a  surgical  operation  on  an  individual 
without  his  suffering  pain  therefrom.  That  /  did  draw  this  infe.rerice, 
and  did  fully  declare  my  unqualified  belief  in  both  the  safety  and.  efficien- 
cy of  the  method  of  destroying  all  sensation  of  pain  in  the  human  body, 
during  this  most  severe  surgical  operations,  no  one  doubts,  and  it  is  fully 
proved  by  abundant  legal  evidence,  which  has  never  been  impeached  or 
doubted  in  any  quarter." 

"1  beg  leave  to  refer  you  again  to  the  evidence  of  Dr.  William  F. 
Channing,  a  man  of  science.  Fellow  of  the  American  Academy  of  Arts 
and  Sciences,  son  of  the  late  Dr.  William  E.  Channing,  our  most  emi- 
nent divine.  To  the  testimony  of  Dr.  S.  A.  Bemis,  one  of  our  most  emi- 
nent dentists.  To  the  letter  of  John  H.  Blake,  a  distinguished  chemist; 
and  to  the  testimony  of  Mr.  Henry  D.  Fowle,  one  of  the  best  and  most 
faithful  apothecaries  of  Boston,  (and  to  the  letters  of  Dr.  George  T. 
Dexter,  of  New  York,  and  of  D.  Jay  Browne,  of  New  York,  obtained 
since  this  paper  was  written.)  Their  evidence,  with  that  of  my  worthy  ■ 
friend  and  former  pupil,  Mr.  Joseph  Peabody,  elive  ingenium  a  Vecole  des 
mines  at  Paris,  prove  that  I  had  made  this  discovery,  and  long  before 
any  other  person  had  even  tried  a  single  experiment  of  the  kind.  (See, 
also,  the  new  and  very  important  evidence  of  Dr.  George  T.  Dexter,  of 
New  York,  and  that  of  Mr.  D.  J.  Browne.) 

"  In  the  rapid  inductions  of  the  mind  it  is  not  always  easy  to  trace  the 
exact  method  of  thought  by  which  we  suddenly  arrive  at  great  truths. 
But  so  far  as  I  can  trace  the  reasoning  that  rapidly  flowed  through  my 
mind,  it  was  based  upon  principles  well  understood  by  all  educated  phy- 
sicians and  physiologists.  I  knew  that  the  nerves  of  sensation  were 
distinct  from  that  of  motion  and  of  organic  life,  and  that  one  system 
might  be  paralyzed  without  necessarily  or  immediately  affecting  the 
others.  I  had  seen  often  in  my  medical  practice  the  nerves  of  sensation 
paralyzed  without  those  of  motion  being  affected,  and  those  of  motion 
paralyzed  without  those  of  sensation  being  influenced;  and  both  the 
nerves  of  motion  and  sensation  paralyzed  without  the  ganglionic  nerves 
or  those  of  organic  life  being  affected.  I  knew,  also,  that  the  nerves  of 
sensation  are  stationed  as  sentinels  near  the  exterior  of  our  bodies,  to 
warn  us  of  danger  from  external  causes  of  injury,  and  that  there  is  no 
feeling  in  the  internal  portions  of  our  bodies.  I  knew,  also,  that  when 
the  knife  is  applied  in  surgical  operations,  that  there  is  little  sense  of 


pain  in  any  p&,rtf3  beneatli  the  skin.  This,  my  own  surgical  experience, 
as  well  as  that  of  others,  had  long  ago  demonstrated,  and  the  philosophy 
of  those  physiological  facts  was  made  known  to  the  medical  world,  in 
England  and  in  this  country,  by  the  researches  of  Sir  Charles  Bell,'  of 
England,  and  was  fully  proved  by  all  the  eminent  anatomists  and  phy- 
siologists of  Europe.  Now,  I  had  observed,  1st.  That  the  nerves  of  sen- 
sation in  my  own  body  were  rendered  insensible  to  pain  for  some  time 
before  unconsciousness  took  place. 

"2d.  That  all  pain  had  ceased  in  a  suffering  part  of  my  body  during 
the  stages  of  etherization  preceding  and  following  the  unconscious  state. 

"  3d.  That  this  state  of  insensibility  of  the  nerves  of  sensation  continued 
for  a  sufficient  length  of  time  to  admit  of  most  surgical  operations,  and 
I  had  reason  to  believe  that  during  the  unconscious  period  the  degree  of 
insensibility  was  still  greater,  so  that  it  would  be  impossible  that  any 
pain  could  be  felt  in  a  surgical  operation. 

"4th.  That  the  nerves  of  motion  and  of  the  involuntary  functions  of 
respiration  and  circulation  were  in  no  wise  affected ;  the  functions  of 
life  going  on  as  usual,  while  the  nerves  of  sensation  were  rendered  de- 
void of  feeling,  and  the  body  could  suffer  no  pain.  By  long  experience 
in  the  trial  of  ether  vapor  in  spasmodic  asthma,  and  from  numerous 
carefully  conducted  physiological  experiments,  I  had  learned  that  the 
vapor  of  ether  could  be  safely  inhaled  into  the  lungs  to  an  extent  before 
believed  to  be  highly  dangerous.  (Wood  and  Bache's  Dispensatory; 
Beck's  Medical  Jurisprudence.)  That  I  did  first  discover  that  the  nerves 
of  sensation  could  be  and  were  paralyzed  to  all  sensation  temporarily  and 
safely  by  the  inhalation  of  ether  vapor,  is  admitted  by  all  scientific  men 
who  have  examined  the  evidence.  That  /  did  first  prescribe  its  adminis- 
tration for  the  purpose  of  preventing  all  sensation  of  pain  in  surgical  ope- 
rations, with  the  guarantee  on  my  medical  and  scientific  responsibility,  of 
its  entire  safety,  if  ray  directions  were  strictly  obeyed,  and  did  thus  in- 
troduce the  use  of  pure  sulphuric  ether  mixed  with  air,  into  surgical  prac- 
tice, is  fully  proved  by  abundant  testimony,  and  this  is  admitted  by  all 
persons  who  have  examined  the  evidence  that  I  have  caused  to  be  printed. 

"  The  only  point  contested  by  my  opponents  is,  that  in  their  opinion  I 
had  not  sufficient  reason  for  drawing  the  inference  that  I  did,  as  they  ad- 
mit, draw  from  my  data,  and  that  I  could  not  have  "known"  the  full  ex- 
tent of  the  insensibility  to  pain  of  a  surgical  operation,  and  that  this 
remained  to  be  verified  by  actural  trial.  Now,  it  appears  to  me  clear 
enough  that  when  I  had  discovered  that  the  nerves  of  sensation  were 
paralyzed,  that  I  did  know  that  the  body  could  feel  no  pain,  and  that 
my  induction  was  the  most  natural  thing  in  the  process  of  reasoning 
from  my  well  ascertained  data.  To  the  ignorant  it  is  easy  to  appeal  by 
allegations,  like  those  of  my  very  unscientific  opponents,  that  'Dr.  Jack- 
son could  not  have  known,'  anterior  to  the  verification  experiments  per- 
formed at  the  hospital,  that  the  patient  was  wholly  insensible  to  pain 
when  under  the  influence  of  ether;  but  no  scientific  physiologist  or  phy- 
sician can  possibly  entertain  a  doubt  of  the  sufficiency  of  my  evidence, 
that  the  body  could  feel  no  pain  when  the  nerves  of  sensation  were  ren- 
dered insensible.  Again,  it  is  claimed  by  my  opponents,  that  inducing 
an  ignorant  dentist,  a  man  of  no  medical  knowledge,  to  perform  the 
mere  mechanical  operations,  under  my  advice  and  upon  my  medical  re- 
sponsibility, expressly  assumed  before  witnesses,  that  I  made  him  a  co- 


partner,  or  joint  discoverer,  and  that  he  made  the  first  application  of  my 
discovery.  Now  I  respectfully  dissent  from  this  opinion,  and,  in  my  dis- 
sent 1  am  sustained  by  the  highest  scientific  medical  and  legal  author- 
ities' of  this  country,  and  by  the  most  eminent  men  of  science  of  Europe, 
who  have  considered  this  question.  1  claim  that  I  not  only  discovered 
the  principle,  but  also  by  my  advice  and  prescriplion,^as  above  stated, 
made  the  applicalion  in  the'highest  sense  of  the  term." 

Your  committe  will  attempt  to  determine  the  weight  which  ought  to 
be  given  to  this  statement :  first,  by  collating  it  witli  other  facts,  in  the 
case  of  which  they  can  have  no  doubt;  second,  by  comparing  it  with 
other  written  statements  of  the  same  incident,  made  by  Dr.  Jackson 
himself  of  an  earlier  date ;  third,  by  considering  its  inherent  probability  ' 
when  viewed  in  connexion  with  Dr.  Jackson's  own  well-established  acts 
and  omissions ;  and,  lastly,  the  extent  to  which  it  is  supported  or  assailed 
by  extrinsic  evidence. 

A  portion  of  this  statement  of  Dr.  Jackson  struck  your  committee 
with  some  surprise,  that,  namely,  in  which  he  says:  "That  /  did  first 
prescribe  its  administration  for  the  purpose  of  preventing  all  sensation  of 
pain  in  surgical  operations,  loith  the  guarantee  my  medical  and  scientific 
responsihily,  of  its  entire  safety,  if  my  instructions  were  strictly  obeyed, 
and  did  then  introduce  the  use  of  pure  sulphuric  ether  vapor,  mixed  with 
air,  into  surgical  practice,  is  fully  proved  by  abundant  testimony,  and  this 
is  admitted  by  all  persons  who  have  examined  the  evidence  that  I  have 
caused  to  be  printed.  The  only  point  contested  by  my  opponents  is,  that, 
in  their  opinion,  I  had  not  sufficient  reason  for  drawing  the  inference  that 
I  did,  as  tliey  admit,  draw  from  my  rfaia,  and  that  I  could  not  have  ^known^ 
the  full  extent  of  the  insensibility  to  pain  of  a  surgical  operation,  and' 
that  this  remained  to  be  verified  by  actual  trial." 

This  is,  within  the  knowledge  of  your  committee,  a  wide  departure 
from  the  actual  state  of  fact  touching  the  controversy.  It  is  known  to 
us  by  numerous  documents,  printed  and  written,  that  the  positions  which 
Dr.  Jackson  thus  avers  to  have  been  universally  conceded  to  him,  are 
the  very  positions  which  have  been  most  constantly  and  strongly  con- 
tested since  he  first  claimed  for  himself  the  merits  of  the  discovery.  It 
appears  too,  that  neither  of  these  points  was  conceded  to  him,  but  both 
adjudged  against  him  by  the  Massachusetts  General  Hospital  in  their 
report  of  January,  1848,  and  most  distinctly  and  emphatically  so  by  the 
report  of  the  committee  of  this  house  of  February  24,  1849. 

The  hospital  report  notices  this  subject  as  follows : 

"Down  to  September  30,  1846,  Dr.  Jackson  had  discovered  nothing 
that  had  not  been  known  and  in  print  in  London  for  some  years.  It 
was  known,  that  ether  would  produce  insensibility ;  that  such  insensi- 
bility, though  sometimes  fatal,  was  sometimes  safe  ;  and  that  one  of 
the  properties  of  ether  was  its  power  to  obviate  the  ill  eftects  of  an  in- 
halation of  chlorine  gas.  The  discovery  of  the  safety  and  efficacy  of 
the  inhalation  of  ether  in  surgical  operations  had  not  yet  been  made ; 
the  only  experiments  which  Dr.  Jackson  had  tried,  or  caused  to  be  tried, 
being  those  already  prescribed  by  the  text-books.  Dr.  Jackson  had  for 
some  time  entertained  a  strong  impression  that  could  it  be  used  with  safe- 
ty and  efi^ect  during  the  operations  of  the  dentist — a  con  jecture  which 
a  hundred  other  persons  may  have  made  without  discovering  the  fact ; 


•  and  incidentally  on  more  than  one  occasion,  he  had  advised  its  use  for 
that  class  of  operations,  but  had  been  unable  to  persuade  any  one  to 
use  it,  not  even  persons  of  science  and  intelligence,  who  were  most 
familiar  with  all  that  Dr.  Jackson  knew  or  thought  upon  this  subject. 

"  Dr.  Morton  had  for  some  time  been  engaged  in  searching  for  a  safe 
agent  for  promoting  insensibility  during  dental  operations.    He  knew  • 
of,  and  had,  upon  one  occasston,  taken  part  in,  the  nitrous-oxide  experi- 
ments of  Dr.  Wells. 

"As  early  as  Julj^,  1846,  he  purchased  sulphuric  ether,  and  proceeded 
to  experiment  upon  it.  On  September  30,  1846,  he  has  an  interview 
with  Dr.  Jackson,  and  receives  his  decided  advice  to  use  pure  rectified 
sulphuric  ether  during  a  dental  operation,  accompanied  with  the  strong- 
est assurances  of  its  safety,  and  with  the  information  where  it  could  be 
obtained.  Dr.  Morton,  unlike  others  who  had  received  this  advice,  and 
notwithstanding  he  knew  the  prevailing  belief  of  the  dangerous  and 
sometimes  fatal  character  of  this  agent,  forthwith  acted  upon  it. 
That  he  proceeded  to  inhale  it  himself,  rests,  indeed,  on  his  own  asser- 
tion. The  committee  have  no  doubt  of  its  truth.  He  certainly  admin- 
istered it  to  a  patient.  By  so  doiri^,  he  made  this  discovenj.  On  learn- 
ing this  result,  Dr.  Jackson  very  naturally  suggested  to  Dr.  Morton  that 
he  had  better  get  the  ether  tried  by  the  surgeons  of  the  hospital,  which 
a  witness  of  Dr.  Morton's,  however,  alleges  that  he  had  previously  de- 
termined to  do.  But  all  the  subsequent  steps  were  taken  by  Dr.  Mor- 
ton himself,  without  the  slightest  sympathy  or  co-operation  on  the  part 
of  Dr.  Jackson,  who,  from  alleged  fear  of  his  recklessness,  withheld 
from  him  all  countenance  and  encouragement.  In  view  of  these  facts, 
the  committee  are  of  opinion,  that  the  exclusive  claims  advanced  by  Dr. 
Jackson,  though  now  very  extensively  recognized  in  foreign  countries, 
are  unfounded,  being  unwarranted  alike  by  his  acts  and  by  his  omis- 
sions ;  and  that  they  involve  great  injustice  towards  Dr.  Morton  ;  that 
their  names  will  be  forever  jointly,  though  not  equally,  associated  in 
this  discovery;  Dr.  Jackson  being  entitled  to  the  credit  of  having  ren- 
dered readily  available  the  existing  knowledge  upon  the  subject  of  ether, 
which  Dr.  Morton  was  really,  though  not  avowedly,  seeking  to  obtain ; 
and  Dr.  Morton  ^laving.  first  demonstrated  its  safety  and  eflicacy  in  the 
prevention  of  pain  during  surgical  operations ;  and  that  Dr.  Morton,  by 
consenting  to  permit  Dr.  Jackson's  name  to  be  united,  with  his  in  the 
patent,  with  the  right  to  receive  one-tenth  part  of  its  profits,  has  shown 
himself  disposed,  fairly  and  honorably,  to  recognize  the  amount  of  his 
indebtedness  to  Dr.  J'ackson's  advice." 

In  the  report  of  the  committee  of  the  House  in  February,  1849,  where 
these  questions  are  carefully  examined,  the  conclusion  is  against  the 
claim  of  Dr.  Jackson  on  both  these  points ;  they  say  : 

"  It  is,  however,  contended  by  Dr.  Jackson,  that  in  the  administration  of 
ether  to  his  patient  on  the  30th  September,  and  in  the  subsequent  exhi- 
bition of  it  in  the  hospital,  Dr.  Morton  acted  as  his  agent  merely ;  that 
he  was  in  fact  the  experimenter  as  well  as  the  discoverer,  and  the  merit 
of  success  or  the  responsibility  of  failure  rested  on  him.  This  position 
your  committee  will  now  proceed  to  examine. 

"This  claim  is  not  supported  by  the  evidence  which  has  been  thus  far 
considered  ;  indeed,  it  bears  strongly  against  it,  and  your  committee  can 


find  no  contemporary  matter  touching  this  point,  except  a  statement  of 
George  0.  Barnes,  not  yet  commented  upon.  The  witness,  after  stating 
Dr.  Jackson's  eflbrts  to  overcome  the  scruples  of  Morton,  says  :  'Indeed, 
Dr.  Jackson  urged  the  matter  very  earnestly  and  with  perfect  confi- 
dence, taking  on  himself  the  whole  responsibility.'  Now,  if  this  be  a 
deduction,  an  inference  from  the  conversation  stated,  it  is  of  no  value 
whatever,  except  to  show  a  certain  earnestness  in  the  witness.  If  it  be 
but  a  further  declaration,  it  is  unsupported  by  the  testimony  of  Mclntire; 
and,  in  a  third  important  particular,  diflers  from  and  goes  beyond  him. 
But'the  well  attested  conduct  of  the  parties  themselves,  at  the  time  of 
the  transaction  in  which  this  agency  is  claimed  to  have  been  conferred 
and  accepted,  what  is  termed  by  lawyers  the  res  gestcB,  shows  more 
clearly  than  everything  else  the  true  relation  which  they  then  bore  to 
each  other,  and  each  of  them  to  the  subject  matter  in  controversy. 

"  Dr.  Jackson  claims  that  he  had  long  had  in  his  mind  a  conviction  that 
the  vapor  of  sulphuric  ether  could  be  inhaled  without  danger  or  injury 
to  the  patient,  and  that  under  its  influence  surgical  operations  could  be 
performed  without  pain.  All  admit  hiin  to  be  a  man  of  science,  fully 
aware  of  the  mighty  value  of  such  a  discovery,  and  not  at  all  indifferent 
to  his  own  reputation  in  the  scientific  world.  In  this  state  of  things  we 
cannot  conceive  it  possible  that  he  could  have  remained  inactive  for 
years,  waiting  till  chance  should  send  him  some  one  to  bring  out  his 
great  discovery,  instead  of  proceeding  himself  by  direct  experiment.  It 
is  not  at  all  disputed  that  Dr.  Morton  went  to  Dr.  Jackson's  shop  that 
day  uninvited;  that  his  wants  and  not  Di".  Jackson's  wishes  and  purpo- 
ses led  to  the  conversation ;  that  there  was  nothing  of  an  especially 
confidential  nature  between  them ;  and  that  what  Dr.  Jackson  said  to 
him,  he  said  in  the  usual  manner  of  public  conversation,  and  not  like  a 
man  who  was  engaging  another  to  bring  out  a  most  important  discovery 
to  the  world. 

"  But  take  Dr.  Morton  to  be  just  what  Dr.  Jackson  and  his  two  witnes- 
ses represent  him  to  have  been  at  the  time  of  that  conversation,  was  he 
the  man  whom  Dr.  Jackson  would  have  trusted  to  represent  him  in  a 
matter  so  deeply  involving  his  character  and  his  fame?  Say  it  is  Jack- 
son's discovery,  the  experiment  is  his,  he  is  responsible  for  the  conse- 
quences. If  it  succeed,  he  has  made  the  noblest  contribution  to  surgical 
science  which  the  century  has  witnessed ;  if  it  fail,  the  consequences 
might  be  most  disastrous.  Whom  does  he  select  to  carry  out  this,  the 
most  important  conception  of  his  life  or  of  the  age  ?  Let  his  two  wit- 
nesses answer. 

"According  to  them,  a  man  profoundly  ignorant  of  the  powerful  medi- 
cinal agent  which  he  was  directed  to  employ,  one  who  did  not  know 
what  kind  of  "stuff""  sulphuric  ether  was,  and  who  wished  to  see  it  in 
order  thus  to  test  its  qualities,  is  selected  by  one  of  the  first  scientific 
men  of  the  age  to  conduct  a  delicate  and  dangerous  experiment  with 
this  same  sulphuric  ether,  on  the  success  of  which  even  more  than  repu- 
tation depended.  If  Dr.  Jackson  had  dwelt  upon  the  subject,  conceived 
the  discovery  in  his  own  mind,  considered  it  with  a  view  of  making  it 
known  to  the  world  and  useful  to  mankind,  he  knew  that  much  depend- 
ed on  the  first  public  exhibition ;  and  he  also  knew  that  it  required  sci- 
ence, prudence,  and  skill,  to  render  the  experiment  successful,  and  pre- 
cnt  Us  becoming  disastrous.    Sulphuric  other  would  produce  insensi- 


bility  to  pain ;  too  little  of  it  would  make  the  experiment  inefFectual,  and 

death.  Under  these  circumstances,  how  can  your  committee  believe 
that  Dr.  Jackson  would  have  trusted  such  a  man  as  his  witnesses  rep- 
resent Dr.  Morton  to  be,  with  his  first  experiment  upon  his  great  disco- 
very? Would  it  not  have  been  inexcusable  in  him  to  have  done  so  ? 
Would  it  not  have  shown  a  recklessness  of  his  own  fame  and  the  lives 
of  his  fellow-men  ? 

"  Such  a  conclusion,  your  committee  are  satisfied,  cannot  be  imputed  to 
him  with  justice.  Had  Dr._  Jackson  made  the  discovery  and  felt  that  it 
was  his,  could  he  have  failed  to  be  at  oace  aware  of  its  vast  importance, 
and  the  world-wide  reputation  it  would  give  him,  would  he  have  trusted 
it  for  a  moment  in  the  hands  of  a  man  less  skillful  and  scientific  than 
himself?  indeed,  would  he  have  entrusted  it  with  any  one?  but'  would 
he  not  have  himself  seen  that  it  was  administered  in  a  proper  manner, 
and  under  proper  conditions  to  make  it  safe  and  effectual  ?  Would  he 
not  have  stood  by  and  watched  the  sinking  pulse  of  his  first  subject,  un- 
til insensibility  was  complete,  and  have  been  careful  to  withdraw  it 
when  he  saw  it  was  likely  to  endanger  life,  and  thus  done  all  that  sci- 
ence and  skill  could  do  to  avoid  a  failure  or  a  catastrophe?  But  there 
was  nothing  of  this.  Having  given  the  information  which  he  did  give 
in  the  conversation  with  Dr.  Morton,  he  turned  neither  to  the  right  nor 
left,  nor  troubled  himself  further  on  the  subject,  until  he  was  advised  by 
Dr.  Morton  that  the  experiment  had  been  successful.  He  expresses  no 
surprise,  no  emotion  ;  it  is  an  incident  of  the  day — an  occurrence.  Ac- 
Qording  to  the  testimony  of  Barnes,  he  advises  Dr.  Morton  to  try  it  in 
some  capital  operation  in  the  hospital;  does  not  say  he  will  try  it  him- 
self, which  he  might  or  ought  to  have  done,  if  Morton  had  been  his 
agent.  He  does  not  propose  to  get  permission  for  Dr.  Morton  so  to  try 
it ;  though  he  well  knew  ,the  application  by  himself,  or  in  his  name, 
would  ensure  the  permission.  He  advises  Dr.  Morton  to  get  permission, 
and  try  it  in  the  hospital,  and  does#not  propose  to  be  present,  and  in  fact 
is  not  present  when  the  trial  is  made,  though  the  hospital  was  but  five 
minutes'  walk  from  his  door.  That  operation  was  successfully  perform- 
ed, and  another  was  noticed  to  take  place  the  next  da}'^,  about  which  Dr. 
Jackson  gave  himself  no  concern,  and  at  which  he  was  not  present. 
The  committee  feel  that  his  conduct  during  this  time  was  wholly  incon- 
sistent with  the  fact  that  he  recognised  the  discovery  as  his  own,  and 
that  these  were  his  experiments. 

"It  is  urged  as  a  reason  for  his  absence  at  the  first  operation  in  the 
hospital,  that  Dr.  Morton  did  not  imform  him  at  what  time  it  was  to 
take  place.  As  to  this,  there  is  no  proof  that  he  did  or  did  not  inform 
him  ;  but  surely, had  Dr.  Jackson  felt  the  solicitude  which  the  discoverer 
would  naturally  feel,  he  would  have  informed  himself,  and  his  daily  as- 
sociations naturally  led  him  to  the  knowledge.  On  the  other  hand,  after 
the  successful  operation  of  the  30th  of  September,  and  after  Dr.  Morton 
had  seen  hi.s  patient  and  ascertained  that  he  had  suffered  no  injury  from 
the  ether — elated  with  his  success,  he  consulted  Dr.  Hayden  as  to  the 
mode  of  bringing  out  the  discovery,  and  suggested  at  once  that  he  would 
introduce  it  into  the  hospital.  A  few  days  afterwards  he  told  Dr.  Hay- 
den that  Dr.  Jackson  \yould  not  countenance  the  discovery,  and  again 


said  he  would  go  to  Dr.  Warren  and  endeavor  to  have  it  introduced  into 
the  hospital.  The  fact  that  Dr.  Jackson  refused  to  give  Dr.  Morton  a 
certificate  that  ether  was  harmless  in  its  effects,  or  might  be  used  with 
safety,  is  admitted  by  Dr.  .Tackson  in  his  defence  by  the  Messrs.  Lord; 
but  they  say  it  proves  nothing  but  Dr.  Jackson's  "unwillingness  to  fig- 
ure in  Dr.  Morton's  advertisements,  and  his  prudence  in  refusing  to  make 
himself  resj)onsihle  for  unytMng  and  everything  Morton,  in  his  ignorance, 
misht  do,  loith  on  agent  liable  to  the  most  dangerous  abuse." 

"  This,  if  it  stood  alone,  might  be  satisfactory ;  but  one  of  the  witnesses, 
Geo.  O.  [Jarnes,  says  that,  on  the  30th  of  September,  Dr.  Jackson  em- 
ployed Dr.  Morton  to  use  this  very  agent.  •  He  assured  him  it  would 
"  not  do  the  least  injurtj:''  He  "  urged  the  matter  very  earnestly,  express- 
ly taking  on  himself  all  the  responsibility;"  and  it  was  on  the  1st  of  Oc- 
tober, the  morning  after  the  successful  experiment,  that  Dr.  Jackson  re- 
fused to  give  a  certificate  "  that  et  her  was  harmless  in  its  effects,"  and 
yet,  on  this  same  day,  the  witness  Barnes  says,  on  being  advised  by  Dr. 
Morton  of  the  success  of  the  operation.  Dr.  Jackson  said  to  him  :  "You 
must  go  to  Dr.  Warren  and  get  his  permission  to  administer  it  in  the 
Massachusetts  General  Hospital,  and  if  possible,  it  should  be  on  a  capi- 
tal operation."  And  he  goes  on  to  say  that  Morton  strongly  objected  at 
first  to  going  <o  the  hospital ;  that  everybody  would  smell  the  ether,  and 
it  would  not  be  kept  secret ;  but  that,  after  learning  something  to  dis- 
guise the  odor,  he  agreed  to  apply  to  the  hospital. 

"We  have  already  adverted  to  the  fact  that  Dr.  Morton,  the  very 
evening  after  the  successful  of)eration,  suggested  to  Dr.  Hayden  that 
he  would  go  to  the  hospital  and  get  permission  to  try  the  ether  there ; 
that  he  went'  next  morning  to  Dr.  Jackson,  and  returned,  saying  Dr.' 
Jackson  would  not  give  his  countenance  to  the  discovery,  and  it  is  ad- 
mitted that  Dr.  Jackson  refused  him  the  certificate  he  wished  foi',  and 
one  of  the  reasons  given  is  that  he  did  not  think  him  fit  to  be  trusted. 
Is  it  then  probable  that  he  urged  him  to  go  to  the  hospital  and  there 
bring  out  his  (Dr.  Jackson's)  great  discovery?  But  James  Mclntire 
was  also  present  on  the  1st  of  October^  when  Dr.  Morton  returned  and 
advised  Dr.  Jackson  of  the  entire  success  of  the  experiment,  and  he 
says  not  a  word  of  Dr.  Jackson's  proposing  to  Dr.  Morton  to  try  an  ex- 
periment in  the  hospital.  Your  committee  has  already  remarked  in 
several  other  points  of  difl'erence  in  the  testimony  of  these  two  witnesses, 
and  in  each  cai^e  as  in  this,  they  felt  themselves  constrained  by  the  testi- 
mony of  other  witnesses  and  by  the  inherent  character  of  the  evidence 
to  rely  on  the  accuracy  of  Mclntire  rather  than  of  Mr.  Barnes,  where 
these  discrepancies  occur. 

"Another  difliculty  in  sustaining  the  position  assufned  by  Dr.  Jackson 
forcibly  impresses  itself  upon  your  committee.  According  to  this,  ou 
the  30th  of  September,  Dr.  Jackson  entrusted  Dr.  Morton  with  his  dis- 
covery, and  n^t  only  suiTered  him,  but  '  earnestly  urged'  him  to  use  it 
assuring  him  it  was  perfectly  safe  ;  Dr.  Morton  tried  it  on  the  same 
evening;  his  success  was  complete;  he  brought  to  Dr.  Jackson  the  next 
morning  conclusive  evidence  of  all  this,  and  Dr.  Jackson  refused  him  a 
certificate  because  he  would  not  'make  himself  responsible  for  anything 
and  everything  Morton  in  his  ignorance  might  do  with  an  agent  liable 
to  the  most  dangerous  abuse,'  while  nothing  is  shown  to  shake  Dr. 
Jackson's  confidence  in  Dr.  Morton  since  the  previous  day,  or  at  all  to 


change  his  opinion  of  him,  except  the  triumphant  success  of  the  opera- 
tion wbich  he  reported  and  proved.  On  the  16th  of  October,  the  first 
operation  was  performed  in  the  hospital,  at  which,  as  we  have  already- 
shown,  Dr.  Jackson  did_,  not  attend,  and  at  which  his  name  was  not 
known.  The  second  operation  at  the  hospital  took  place  on  the  17th 
Dr.  Jackson  taking  no  part  in  it  by  his  presence  or  his  counsel.  Both 
operations  were  entirely  successful,  and  both  conducted  on  the  part  of 
Dr.  Morton  to  the  entire  satisfaction  of  the  surgeons  of  the  hospital. 
But  at  this  time  Dr.  Jackson's  confidence  in  Dr.  Morton,  if  he  ever  did 
confide  in  him,  is  wholly  gone.  He  denies  in  the  conversation  with  his 
neighbor  and  friend,  Caleb  Eddy,  that  under  the  influence  of  ether  the 
flesh  of  a  patient  can  be  cut  without  pain  ;  says  Morton  "is  a  reckless 
man  for  using  it  as  he  has;  the  chance  is  he  will  kill  somebody  yet ;" 
and  in  the  interval  between  the  30th  of  September  and  about  the  23d 
of  October,  he  declared  that  he  did  not  care  what  Morton  did  with  it,  or 
or  how  much  Morton  advertised,  if  his  own  name  was  not  drawn  in 
with  it. 

"It  would  seem  that  as  Dr.  Morton  acquired  eclat  by  his  constant  suc- 
cess, as  he  continually  and  rapidly  rose  in  the  estimation  of  other  scien- 
tific men,  he  as  continually  and  as  rapidly  sunk  in  the  estimation  of  Dr. 
Jackson.  The  evidence  of  Francis  Whitman,  Mr.  Caleb  Eddy,  and  Hon. 
Edward  Warren,  show  that,  prior  and  up  to  the  23d  October,  Dr.  Jack- 
son spoke  doubtingly  of  the  effect  of  ether,  and  condemned  its  use ;  and 
there  is  no  proof  whatever  that,  within  that  time  he  lent  the  slightest 
countenance  to  Dr.  Morton  to  sustain  the  discovery,  smd  all  his  remarks, 
except  those  stated  by  Mr.  Hitchcock  to  have  been  made  to  him  on  the  2d 
and  3d  of  October,  tend  to  create  distrust  and  destroy  confidence  both  in  the 
operator  and  the  agent  used.  His  favorable  mention  of  it  to  Dr.  Keep 
occurred  after  the  26th  of  October,  the  actual  date  not  fixed,  and  was 
-accompanied  with  a  strong  general  charge  of  ignorance  and  reckless- 
ness against  Morton,  w^ho  was  then  in  the  full  tide  of  successful  experi- 
ment. This  state  of  facts  is,  in^the  opinion  of  your  committee,  wholly 
inconsistent  with  the  assumption  that  Dr.  Jackson  was  the  discoverer ; 
that  he  had  employed  Dr.  Morton  to  bring  out  the  discover}';  and  that 
the  experiments  of  Morton  were  tried  on  the  responsibility  of  Dr.  Jack- 
son." ^  I  ' 

The  error  into  which  Dr.  Jackson  has  fallen,  as  to  the  extent  of  the 
concessions  which  have  been  made  him  hi/  all  who  have  examined  the 
evidence,  is  somewhat  remarkable,  in  view  of  the  reasoning  and  conclu- 
sions of  these  two  very  able  reports  upon  the  distinct  points  which  he 
claims  to  have  been  universally  conceded.  While  neither  of  them  finds 
it  nececessary  to  approach  or  touch,  what  he  avers  to  be  "the  only  points 
contested  by"  his  "opponents,"  namely:  to  use  his  own  words  "That  I 
had  not  a  sufficient  reason  for  drawing  the  inference  that  I  did,  as  they 
admit,  draw  from  my  data.''  "And  again,  that  by  inducTng  an  ignorant 
dentist,  a  man  of  no  medical  knowledge,  to  perform  the  mere  mechanical 
operations  made  by  my  advice,  and  upon  my  medical  responsibility,  ex- 
pressly assumed  before  witnesses,  that  I  made  him  a  co-partner,  or  joint 
discoverer,  and  that  he  made  the  first  application  of  my  discovery." 

Your  committee  have  looked  in  vain  through  all  the  papers  before 
them,  and  find  no  such  admission ;  nor  do  they  find  the  controversy  any- 
where to  turn  upon  what  Dr.  Jackson,  in  this  paper  avers  to  be  the  "only 


points  conlestedr  On  the  contrary  they  find  it  denied,  and  to  have  been 
all  along  denied,  that  Dr.  Jackson  drew  the  alleged  inference,  or  in  any 
other  manner  made  the  discovery ;  or  that  he  employed  or  engaged  Dr. 
Morton  to  administer  the  ether  vapor,  on  his.  Dr.  .Jackson's  responsibility. 
These  are  the  questions  which  your  committee  find  to  be  the  (/ucsfions  in 
issue,  and  which  have  been,  from  the  first  claim  made  by  Dr.  Jackson, 
in  issue.  This  erroneous  statement  some  what  weakens  the  credit  of 
the  paper  for  accuracy,  but  is  to  be  regretted  only  in  so  far  as  it  may 
tend  to  mislead  the  distinguished  apostle  of  science  in  a  foreign  land, 
to  whom  it  was  directed. 

Dr.  Jackson's  first  claim  to  the  discovery -which  appears  on  paper,  is 
in  a  letter  addressed  to  M.Elie  de  Beaumont,  dated  Boston,  13lh  Novem- 
ber, 1846,  which  was  opened  and  read  to  the  Academy  of  Arts  and  Sci- 
ences at  Paris,  at  their  meeting,  18th  January,  1847.    It  is  thus  introduced: 

"M.  Elie  de  Beaumont  requested  the  opening  of  a  sealed  packet  which 
had  been  deposited  at  the  meeting  of  28th  of  December,  1846,  and  which 
contained  two  letters  from.  Mr.  Jackson,  of  which  the  following  are  ex- 
tracts: first  letter — 

"'Boston,  I3th  November,  1846. 

"'I  request  permission  to  communicate  through  your  medium,  to  the 
Academy  of  Sciences,  a  discovery  which  I  have  made,  and  which  I  believe 
important  for  the  relief  of  suffering  humanity,  as  well  as  of  great  value  to 
the  surgical  profession.  Five  or  six  years  ago  1  noticed  the  peculiar  state 
of  insensibility  into  which  the  nervous  system  is  thrown  by  the  inhala- 
tion of  the  vapor  of  pure  sulphuric  ether,  which  I  respired  abundantly : 
first  by  way  of  experiments,  and  afterwards  when  I  had  a  severe  catarrh, 
caused  by  the  inhalation  of  chlorine  gas.  I  have  latterly  made  a  useful 
application  of  this  fact,  by  persuading  a  dentist  of  this  city  to  adminis- 
ter the  vapor  of  ether  to  his  patients,  when  about  to  undergo  the  opera- 
tion of  extraction  of  teeth.  It  was  observed  that  persons  suffered  no 
pain  in  the  operation,  and  that  no  inconvenience  resulted  from  the  ad- 
ministration of  the  vapor.' " 

In  a  second  letter  of  December  1st,  1846,  Dr.  Jackson  authorizes  the 
opening  of  the  above  letter.  The  following  is  an  extract  from  it,  and 
the  explanatory  remarks  of  M.  Velpeau :  second  letter — 

"  1st  December,  1846. 

"The  advantage  of  the  appreciation  of  the  vapor  of  ether  has  been 
completely  established  in  this  country,  and  the  agent  has  been  used  with 
great  success  at  the  Massachusetts  General  Hospital." 

On  this  poipt  Mr.  Velpeau  made  the  following  remarks : 

"The  secret  contained  in  the  note  which  has  been  read  is  no  longer 
a  secret;  the  medical  journals  published  in  America  and  England  have 
divulged  it  in  the  months  of  November  and  December.  A  letter  from 
Dr.  Warren,  of  Boston,  communicated  the  information  to  me  more  than 
one  month  ago ;  and  Dr.  Willis  Fisher,  of  the  same  city,  proposed  that 
I  should  try  its  effects  at  La  Charit6  towards  the  middle  of  last  De- 


The  present  object  of  quoting  these  letters  is  to  show  the  account 
which  Dr.  Jackson  then  gave  of  his  experiment  in  1841-42.  It,  in 
truth,  goes  no  further  than  prior  experiments  had  made  familiar  to  the 
medical  faculty.  The  Edinburg  Medical  Journal  of  April  1st,  1847, 
speaking  of  if,  says : 

"  In  the  administration  of  ether  vapor  there  is,  therefore,  nothing  new. 
Its  narcotic  and  anodyne  effects  have  been  long  well  known  to  experi- 
enced and  well-informed  observers.  The  application  of  ether  vapor, 
neverthless,  as  an  anodyne  previous  to  surgical  operations,  suggested  a 
mode  of  exhibition  which,  besides  being  new,  has  the  merit  of  being 
more  efficient  than  the  methods  in  ordinary  cases." 

Dr.  Jackson's  trial  in  ] 841-42,  as  stated  by  him  in  the  above  letter, 
was  a  mere  application  of  its  well-known  narcotic  and  anodyne  proper- 
ties. In  a  paper  published  by  Dr.  Jackson  in  the  Boston  Daily  Adver- 
tiser of  March  1st,  1847,  he  adds  to  the  statement  in  his  letter  to  M.  Elie 
de  Beaumont  but  one  distinct  fact — relief  from  the  pain  of  his  catarrh 
during  the  eflect  of  the  inhalation  of  the  vapor  of  sulphuric  ether,  and 
its  return  presently  afterwards.  The  same  fact  is  stated  as  having  oc- 
curred in  Dr.  Thornton's  practice,  first  published  in  1795-'9G. 

In  a  letter  written  by  Dr.  Jackson  to  Dr.  Martin  Gay,  dated  May  1, 
1847,  be  professes  to  give  an  account  of  his  "experiments  and  observa- 
tions made  several  years  ago  on  the  inhalation  of  the  vapor  of  pure  sul- 
phuric ether."    He  states  his  experiments  as  follows:    The  first : 

"I  moistened  a  cloth  and  laid  it  over  my  mouth  and  nostrils,  and  laid 
myself  back  in  a  rocking  chair,  and  inhaled  the  vapor,  noticing  its  ef- 
fects on  the  system.  The  first  impression  was  that  of  coolness,  then  a 
sensation  of  warmth  and  exhilaration,  with  a  singular  feeling  of  excite- 
ment in  the  chest.  This  was  followed  by  a  loss  of  consciousness,  from 
which  I  in  a  short  time  awoke ;  soon  afterwards  I  entirely  recovered 
from  the  effects  of  the  ether." 

The  second : 

"  Afterwards,  still  suffering  from  the  effects  of  the  chlorine,  I  thought 
I  would  try  the  ether  vapor  again,  and  for  a  longer  time.  I  went,  there- 
fore, into  my  office,  which  is  connected  with  my  house,  and  taking  the 
bottle  of  pure  sulphuric  ether  from  the  laboratory,  I  soaked  a  folded 
cloth  in  it,  squeezed  it  out  slightly,  and  seating  myself  in  a  rocking  chair, 
with  my  feet  resting  upon  another  chair,  I  commenced  inhaling  the  ether 
from  the  cloth,  which  was  placed  over  my  mouth  and  nostrils,  while  my 
head  was  laid  back  against  my  chair,  so  that  I  was  quite  at  ease  in  a 
fixed  position.  The  effects  of  the  inhalation  Avere  as  before  described, 
excepting  that  it  made  me  cough  at  first.  I  was,  therefore,  led  to  be- 
lieve that  the  paral3rsis  of  the  nerves  of  sensation  would  be  so  great, 
during  the  continuance  of  the  insensibility,  that  a  surgical  operation 
might  be  performed  upon  a  patient  under  its  influence,  without  giving 
him  any  pain  ;  for  the  loss  of  consciousness  was  remarkable,  perhaps  re- 
sembling that  of  epilepsy  more  than  any  other  kind  of  insensibility." 

On  the  18th  of  May,  1848,  something  more  than  a  year  afterwards, 
the  contest  about  the  discovery  all  the  time  going  sharply  on,  and  new- 
facts  daily  developing  themselves  in  the  use  and  effects  of  sulphuric 
ether.  Dr.  Jackson  addressed  a  letter  to  Joseph  Hale  Abbott,  Esq.,  giving, 


as  he  says,  "a  more  minute  statement,  than  I  have  heretofore  published, 
of  the  effects  produced  upon  me  by  sulphuric  ether,  when  I  inhaled  it 
for  relief  from  the  distress  occasioned  by  the  inhalation  of  chlorine  in 
tJie  winter  of  1841-2.  And,  also,  a  statement  of  the  precise  ground, 
which  I  have  never  published,  of  the  idea  then  conceived  by  me  that 
pure  sulphuric  ether  could  be  used  with  safety  and  success  to  prevent 
pain  in  surgical  operations.  I  will  add  that  in  my  published  letter 
to  Dr.  Gay,  I  neglected,  through  inadvertence,  to  state  one  of  my  prin- 
cipal reasons ;  which,  as  will  be  seen  by  his  pamphlet,  I  had  mentioned 
to  him,  in  conversation,  for  the  inference  I  drew  from  my  observations. 
The  experiment  referred  to  above,  in  the  course  of  which  I  observed 
that  sulphuric  ether  produced  insensibility  to  pain,  was  as  follows: 
Having  taken  a  bottle  of  pure  sulphuric  ether  from  my  laboratory,  I  went 
into  my  office,  soaked  a  folded  clotli  with  it,  squeezed  it  out  slightly,  and 
seated  myself  in  a  rocking  chair.  Having  laid  my  head  back  against 
the  rocking  chair,  with  my  feet  supported  by  another,  so  as  to  give  me  a 
fixed  position,  I  placed  the  cloth  over  my  mouth  and  nostrils  and  com- 
menced inhaling  the  ether.  The  effects  perceived  by  me  were  at  first  a 
little  coughing,  a  sensation  of  coldness,  then  ^\»armth  and  fullness  of  the 
head  and  chest,  exhiliration  and  giddiness,  numbness  and  want  of  feeling 
in  the  feet  and  legs,  a  swimming  sensation  as  if  I  had  been  afloat  in 
the  air,  together  with  a  loss  of  all  feeling  of  the  rocking  chair  in  which 
I  was  seated — loss  of  all  sensation  of  pain  in  the  throat  and  chest — a 
state  of  reverie,  and  soon  entire  unconsciousness,  for  a  space  of  time 
unknown  to  me.  Recovering,  I  felt  a  sense  of  giddiness,  but  with  no 
desire  to  move — found  the  cloth  I  had  moistened  with  ether  had  dropped 
from  my  mouth — had  no  feeling  of  pain  in  the  throat  and  chest,  but  be- 
gan to  feel  a  strange  thrilling  in  the  body.  In  a  short  time,  I  felt  the 
soreness  in  the  throat  gradually  returning,  and  the  distress  in  the  chest 
also,  though  much  less  than  it  had  been  before.  From  the  cessation  of 
all  pain,  and  the  loss  of  all  feeling  of  external  objects,  a  little  while  he- 
fore  and  after  the  loss  of  entire  consciousness,  I  was  led  to  infer  that  the 
paralysis  of  the  nerves  of  sensation  would  be  so  great  during  the  con- 
tinuance of  the  unconsciousness  and  the  total  loss  of  feelitig,  that  a  sur- 
gical operation  could  be  performed  upon  a  patient,  under  the  influence 
of  ether,  without  giving  him  any  pain ;  and,  therefore,  I  prescribed  it, 
with  entire  confidence  in  the  result." 

Next  follov/s,  on  the  18th  of  December,  1851,  the  narrative  to  Baron 
Von  Humboldt,  above  set  forth,  but  to  which  your  committee  think 
proper  to  refer  again,  specially,  in  this  connexion.  After  stating  the 
accidental  inhalation- of  chlorine  gas,  and  the  means  used  to  destroy  its 
effects,  he  says:  "The  next  morning  my  throat  was  severely  inflamed, 
and  very  painful,  and  I  perceived  a  distinct  flavor  of  chlorine  in  my  breath, 
and  my  lungs  were  still  much  oppressed.  I  determined,  therefore,  to 
make  a  thorough  trial  of  the  ether  vapor,  and  for  that  purpose  went  into 
my  laboratory,  jwhich  adjoins  my  house  in  Somerest  street,  and  made 
the  experiment  from  which  the  discovery  of  anaesthesia  was  induced.  I 
had  a  large  supply  of  perfectly  pure  washed  sulphuric  ether,  which  was 
prepared  in  the  laboratory  of  my  friend,  Mr.  John  H.  Blake,  of  Bostpn. 
I  took  a  bottle  of  that  ether  and  a  folded  towel,  and  seating  myself  in  a 
rocking  chair,  and  placing  my  feet  in  another  chair,  so  as  to  secure  a 
fixed  position,  as  I  reclined  backward  in  the  one  in  which  I  was  seated. 



Soaldng  the  towel  in  the  ethev,  I  placed  it  over  my  nose  and  mouth,  so 
as  to  inhale  the  ether  mixed  with  the  air,  and  began  to  inhale  the  vapor 
deeply  into  my  lungs.  'At  first  the  ether  made  me  cough,  but  soon  that 
irratibility  ceased,  and  I  noticed  a  sense  of  coolness,  followed  by  vi^armth, 
fulness  of  the  head  and  chest,  with  giddiness  and  exhiliration  ;  numbness 
of  the  feet  and  legs  followed  ;  a  swimming  or  floating  sensation,  as  if 
afloat  in  the  air.  This  was  accompanied  with  entire  loss  of  feeling, 
even  of  contact  with  the.  chair  in  which  I  was  seated.  I  noticed  that 
diW  pain  had  ceased  in  mij  tJiroat,  and  the  sensations  which  1  had  were  of 
the  most  agreeable  kind.  Much  pleased  and  excited  I  continued  the 
inhalation  of  the  ether  vapor,  and  soon  fell  into  a  dreamy  state,  and 
then  became  unconscious  of  all  surrounding  things.  I  know  not  how 
long  I  remained  in  that  slate,  but  suppose  that  it  could  not  be  less  than 
a  quarter  of  an  hour,  judging  from  the  degree  of  dryness  of  the  cloth, 
which  during  this  state  of  unconsciousness  had  fallen  from  my  mouth 
and  nose,  and  lay  upon  my  breast.  As  I  became  conscious  I  observed 
still  there  was  no  feeling  of  pain  in  my  throat,  and  my  limbs  were  still 
deeply  benumed,  as  if  the  nerves  of  sensation  were  fully  paralyzed.  A 
strange  thrilling  now  beg^n  to  be  felt  along  the  spine,  iDUt  it  was  not 
in  any  way  disagreeable.  Little  by  little  sensation  beg:an  to  manifest 
itself,  first  i|i  the,throat  and  body,  and  gradually  extended  to  the  ex- 
tremities, but  it  was  some  time  before  full  sensation  returned,  and  my 
throat  became  really  painful. 

^  "  Reflecting  upon  these  phenomena,  the  idea  flashed  into  my  mind  that 
7  had  made  the  discovery  I  had  so  long  a  time  bee.(i  in.  quest  of,  a  means 
of  rendering,  the  nerves  of  sensation  temporarily  insensible  to  pain,  so 
as  to  admit  of  the  performance  of  surgical  operation  on  an  individual 
without  his  suff"ering  pain  therefrom." 

These  statements  would  have  been  entitled  to  much  more  weight  in 
the  estimation  of  your  committee  if  all  the  facts  alleged  to  have  been 
observed,  and  conclusions  drawn,  in  1841-2,  as  stated  in  the  letter  to 
Baron  Van  Hambolt,  of  December  18,  1851.  had  appeared  in  the  letter 
to  Elie  de  Beaumont  of  November  13,  1846,  or  even  in  that  to  Dr.  Gay 
of  May  1,  1847;  but  such  is  by  no  means  the  case.  Each  successive 
letter  states  the  case  more  strongly  than  the  last  preceding,  and  the 
facts  superadded  in  the  later  letters  are  those  which  alone  give  nov- 
elty and  importance  to  the  experiment. 

In  closing  bis  statement  of  the  last  and  final  experiment  in  1841-2,  in 
the  part  of  the  letter  of  December  18,  1851,  to  Baron  Von  Humboldt,  last 
above  set  forth,  Dr.  Jackson  says,  "  reflecting  upon  these  phenomena,  the 
idea  flashed  into  my  mind  that  /  had  made  the  discovery  I  had  for  so  long 
a  time  been  in  quest  of  a  means,  &c."  And  he  goes  on  to  give  formally 
and  in  detail  the  scientific  deductions  which  he  says  were  made^at  the 
time,  and  which  then  led  him  to  the  conclusion.  If  that  statement  be 
true,  the  discovery  at  that  time,  so  far  as  private  experiment  and  philo- 
sophical deduction  could  go,  was  as  full  and  complete  as  it  was  on  the 
morning  of  October  1,  1846,  after  Dr.  Morton's  successful  operation  on 
Eben  Frost.  , 

Now,  if  Dr.  Jackson,  in  the  winter  of  1841-2,  did,  in  fact,  make  such 
discovery,  and  in  earnestness,  and  in  faith,  and  enthusiasm,  was  possess- 
ed with  it,  and  with  an  animating  desire  to  give  it,  and  to  give  his  name 
with  it,  to  mankind,  how  happens  it  that  no  contemporary  written  paper 


or  pen-mark,  under  the  hand  of  Dr.  Jaclcson,  or  some  one  of  his  nume- 
rous friends  or  pupils,  remains  to  attest  the  discovery?  No  private 
memorandum  of  his  own,  detailing  his  experiments  and  his  scientific  de- 
ductions from  them  ;  nothing,  in  case  of  sudden  death,  to  connect  his 
name  with  the  discovery,  and  secure  the  discovery  itself  to  the  world? 

The  paper  above  referred  to  of  November  13,  1846,  written  after  the 
discovery  had  been  in  fact  made— after  the  first  capital  operation  had 
been  successfully  performed  under  the  superintendence  of  Dr.  Morton, 
and  after  Dr.  Jackson  had  nearly  made  up  his  mind  to  claim  the  discov- 
ery as  his  own,  was  enclosed  to  M.  Elie  de  Beaumont,  with  directions 
to  file  it  in  the  Academy  of  Arts  and  Sciences  of  Paris,  but  not  to  break 
the  seal  until  thereto  directed.  This  paper,  its  seal  and  its  custody, 
show  that  Dr.  Jackson  knew  how  to  save  a  secret  and  yet  preserve  the 
evidence  of  a  discovery  ;  and  it  shows  that  he  Avas  not  negligent  or  tardy, 
but  hastened  to  take  a  formal  contingent  possession  of  this  discovery  in 
Europe  before  he  witnessed,  even  as  a  spectator,  a  single  operation 
under  the  influence  of  the  new  anajsthetic  agent.  It  seems  that  he  had 
not  yet  fully  made  up  his  mind  to  claim  the  discovery.  He  wanted  fur- 
ther verification  of  the  safety  and  efficacy  of  the  anaesthetic  agent  be- 
fore he  took  the  decisive  step  of  announcing  it  as  his  own.  He  there- 
fore directed  the  letter  making  the  claim  to  the  discovery  to  be  deposited, 
sealed,  in  the  Academy  of  Arts  and  Sciences  at  Paris,  not  to  be  opened 
until  he  should  direct. 

The  success  of  the  paiip-subduing  agent  from  that  day  till  the  first 
of  December,  1846,  removed  all  doubt.  The  discovery  was  established. 
It  already  stood  first  in  rank  in  the  discoveries  of  the  century,  and  fame, 
and  honor,  and  rewards  awaited  the  discoverer.  Dr.  Jackson,  on  that 
day  and  under  these  circumstances,  wrote  the  letter  last  above  copied, 
to  M.  Elie  de  Beaumont,  directing  him  to  open  the  sealed  packet,  and 
publish  him,  Dr.  Jackson,  to  Europe,  as  the  discoverer. 

Considering  the  man  and  the  discovery;  the  inestimable  value  of  the 
discovery  ;  the  knowledge  of  the  man,  and  his  capacity  to  appreciate 
its  value;  his  full  application  of  it  when  satisfied  that  the  discovery 
was  in  fact  made,  and  his  eager  promptitude  in  then  seizing  and  appro- 
priating to  himself  at  least  all  that  was  his ;  your  committee  cannot  be- 
lieve it  possible  that  he  should  have  been  for  a  longtime  in  earnest  pur- 
suit of  the  discovery,  that  he  should  have  made  it  and  perfected  it  in 
1841-2  by  experiment  and  deduction,  that  he  should,  for  nearly  five  years 
have  been  in  possession  of  it  and  with  his  full  estimate  of  its  value,  and 
yet  that  he  should  not  in  its  inception  or  progress  record  it,  somevidiere, 
at  some  time,  on  something  more  fixed  and  reliable  than  mere  frail,  un- 
certain, and  mutable  memory. 

He  knew  well,  if  he  thought  on  the  subject  at  all,  that  but  a  thin  veil 
separated  the  familiar  and  daily  walks  of  the  faculty  from  the  spot 
where  lay  this  hidden  treasure.  Did  he  not  fear  that  some  one  would 
lift  the  veil  ?  He  knew  it  was  but  a  step,  and  that  a  short  one,  from 
what  was  well  known  to  the  discovery  itself  Did  he  not  fear  that  some 
one  would  take  that  step  and  seize  the  prize  which  he  could  then  so  ea- 
sily secure  to  himself  forever?  If  he  made  the  discovery  in  1841-2,  and 
was  not  yet  prepared  to  disclose  it,  there  was  reason  then  for  placing 
in  the  archives  of  some  European  and  some  American  academy  a  sealed 
paper,  giving  an  account  of  the  facts  observed,  and  the  deductions  dra\vn 


at  the  time,  that  this  much  at  least  might  be  beyond  the  reach  of  rival- 
1-3^  and  chance.  But  was  there  any  just  reason  for  this  when  he  commit- 
ted the  sealed  letter  above  referred  to  to  M.  Elie  de  Beaumont  ?  The 
discovery  was  public  and  in  public  use  in  Boston  for  more  than  a  month 
before  that  letter  was  written  and  sealed.  The  packet  ship  that  car- 
ried that  letter  bore  also  the  news  of  the  discovery  to  Europe.  What 
secret  did  this  paper  contain,  that  it  must  be  kept  under  seal  until  the 
next  arriyal  from  America?  Nothing,  surely,  which  was  public  in  Bos- 
ton when  the  packet  sailed;  public  also,  oC  course,  on  board  of  the  ship, 
and  which  must  be  public  over  all  Europe  within  twenty-four  hours  af- 
ter she  should  touch  the  Liverpool  docks. 

The  sealed  letter  contained  but  one  single  secret  not  known  over  the 
European  and  American  world,  before  it  reached  the  hands  of  M.  Elie 
de  Beaumont,  namely:  that  Dr.  Charles  T.  Jackson  claimed  the  discov- 
ery as  his.  And  why  did  he  did  not  then  avow  it,  and  proclaim  it,  instead 
of  requiring  his  claim  to  remain  under  the  seal  of  secrecy  till  the  next 
arrival?  His  letter  of  1st  December  gives  the  reason.  It  advises  M. 
Elie  de  Beaumont  that  the  success  of  the  newly  discovered  anfEsthetic 
agent  is  complete,  and  directs  him  to  open,  therefore,  the  sealed  packet, 
and  disclose  its  contents  to  the  Academy.  He  did  so  ;  and  Dr.  Jackson 
was  forthwith  in  possession  of  the  discovery  in  Europe. 

Until  the  first  capital  operation  under  the  influence  of  the  vapor  of 
ether,  which  took  place  on  the  7th  of  November,  1846,  Dr.  Jackson  had 
evidently  no  fixed  confidence  in  its  success  as  an  anaesthetic  agent.  Nor 
did  this  seem  to  satisfy  him  fully.  Six  days  after  this  he  sent  his  sealed 
statement  to  be  deposited  in  the  Academy  at  Paris,  and  not  until  many 
more  successful  operations  had  been  performed  under  the  superinten- 
dence of  Dr.  Morton,  and  until  the  last  doubt  of  the  incredulous  was  re- 
moved,did  he  "direct  publication  to  be  made  of  his  claim  to  the  discovery. 
It  is  not  to  be  credited  that  he  had  already  possessed  this  discovery  for 
five  years,  and  knew  its  value  and  felt  the  enthusiasm  of  the  discoverer ; 
that  he  held  it  and  believed  in  it  and  rejoiced  in  it  for  five  years,  and 
yet,  that  no  word  or  line  was  ever  written  by  him  or  any  one  of  his  nu- 
merous confidential  friends  to  him,  or  for  him,  until  the  letter  of  Novem- 
ber 13th,  1846,  hinting  even  darkly  at  his  possession  of  the  mighty  prize. 
And  the  difficulty  is  greatly  increased  when  these  striking  facts  are 
considered  in  connexion  with  this  letter,  embodying  the  first  written 
statement  of  Dr.  Jackson's  alleged  discovery.  The  accounts  there  given 
of  his  alleged  experiments  in  1841-42,  show  no  new  discovery,  but  a 
mere  repetition  of  a  well-known  prescription  for  its  usual  purpose,  at- 
tended with  effects  also  before  that  time  well  known.  And  the  medi- 
cal journals  from  the  other  side  of  the  Atlantic,  which  returned  with  a 
review  of  the  discovery,  show  this  fact,  and  comprise  all  the  merits  of 
the  discovery  in  the  successful  application  of  the  vapor  of  sulphuric 
ether  as  an  ansesthetic  agent  in  an  actual  surgical  operation.  These 
journals,  with  this  criticism  and  judgment,  had  been  in  the  hands  of  the 
American  public  more  than  a  month  before  Dr.  Jackson  published  his 
amended  and  extended  statement  of  March  1st,  1847,  and  more  than 
three  years  before  his  letter  of  18th  December,  1851,  to  Baron  Von 
Humboldt,  the  statement  in  which,  if  it  be  believed,  supplies  all  defi- 
ciencies except  the  want  of  a  public  experiment,  or  one  at  least  made 
ia  the  presence  of  witnesses.    But  it  is  strange,  if  that  statement  be 


true,  that  'Dr.  Jackson,  from  1841-'42,  to  September  30th,  184G,  never 
applied  that  crowning  test;  that  after  he  professed  to  have  perfected 
the  discovery  by  philosophical  experiment  and  induction,  he  suffered  it 
to  sleep  for  five  years,  during  which  time  he  never  made  another  expe- 
riment of  any  kind  on  himself  or  on  another  person,  or  even  on  a  do- 
mestic animal  •  that,  from  first  to  last,  he  never  made  an  experiment  of 
any  kind  in  presence  of  witnesses.  Indeed,  for  several  years  prior  to 
30th  September,  1840,  the  use  of  sulphuric  ether  appears  to  have  ceased 
in  his  laboratory,  for- in  his  letter  to  Baron  Von  Humboldt,  giving  his 
version  of  the  interview  with  Dr.  Morton  on  that  day,  he  says : 

"He  (Morton)  asked  me  to  let  him  take  the  bottle  of  sulphuric  ether 
which  I  had  just  shown  him  ;  but  since  it  had  been  standing  in  the  labora- 
tory for  SOME  YEARS,  / feared  it  might  have  become  deteriorated.  I  therefore 
advised  him  to  go  to  Mr.  Burnett,  one  of  our  best  apothecaries,  and  get 
some  pure  sulphuric  ether." 


Dr.  Jackson  evidently  feels  that  the  long  delaj^,  from  1841-42  to  1846, 
in  bringing  out  his  alleged  discovery,  and  the  sudden  and  abrupt  man- 
ner in  which  he  professes  to  have  placed  it  in  the  han^s  of  a  man  whom 
he  stigmatizes  as  an  "ignoramus"  and  a  "quack"  require  explanation; 
and  in  his  letter  to  Baron  Von  Humboldt,  he  gives  the  following : 

"  It  is  obvious  enough  to  those  who  know  the  circumstances,  why  I 
engaged  an  ignorant  man  to  introduce  my  discovery.  I  had  already, 
before  Mr.  Morton  came  to  Boston  and  set  up  as  a  dentist,  endeavored 
to  engage  more  responsible  persons  to  make  trial  of  the  ether  in  their 
practice,  but  they  declined  doing  so,  knowing  that  the  medical  and  toxi- 
cological  books  declared  it  to  be  a  dangerous  experiment,  while  I  insisted 
that  it  was  not  dangerous.  They  thought  that  in  their  medical  capacity 
they  would  incur  responsibility  for  any  accidents  that  might  happen  to 
the  patients,  and  hence  feared  to  act." 

If  Dr.  Jackson  made,  in  truth,  this  great  discovery  in  the  winter  of 
1841-2,  and  was  conscious  of  its  truth  and  its  v^alue,  the  above  statement, 
in  the  opinion  of  your  committee,  falls  far  short  of  a  sufficient  explana- 
tion of  the  fact  that  he  so  long  delayed  announcing  it  to  the  world.  Ac- 
cording to  hin^,  the  discovery  was  complete  as  soon  as  he  awoke  from 
the  state  of  unconsciousness  into  which  he  had  been  brought  by  in- 
haling the  ether  vapor.  All  was  complete,  except  to  bring  it  out  by  an 
actual  experiment  in  the  presence  of  th.e  surgical  faculty;  as  complete, 
so  far  as  he  was  concerned,  as  it*  was  on  the  morning  of  the  30th  of  Sep- 
tember, 1846.  Now,  can  it  be  believed,  that  during  the  more  than  four 
years  that  intervened  between  the  time  of  the  alleged  discovery  and  the 
public  experiments  of  Dr.  Morton,  no  available  means  offered  themselves 
to  Dr.  Jackson  to  test  it,  and  disclose  it,  and  prove  it  to  the  world?  He 
says,  "and  it  is  well  known  that  the  vapor  of  sulphuric  ether  was  some- 
times inhaled  by  the  young  men  at  college."  Could  he  not,  after  this 
discovery,  have  been  present,  and  after  leading  the  way  himself,  have 
mduced  Some  of  them  to  inhale  it  until  it  produced  insensibility  ?  Could 
he  not  have  himself  inhaled  it  before  his  friends  and  associates  of  the 
hospital,  and  satisfied  them  of  its  safety  by  his  speedy  recovery,  of  its 
complete  suspension  of  all  sensibility  to  pain  by  usual  tests  with  which 
he  was  familiar,  or  even  something  more  decisive,  as  the  actual  cautery 


applied  for  an  ii)stant  to  some  sensitive  part?  Conviction  would  have 
followed  a  simple  and  safe  exhibition  like  this,  and  his  associates,  mem- 
bers of  the  faculty  of  the  hospital,  would  not  have  hesitated  to  further 
test  the  discovery  by  surgical  operations.  Indeed,  we  cannot  suppose 
that  they  would  have  hesitated  to  do  so  at  once  on  his  mere  statement 
of  the- experiment  upon  himself,  as  given  to  Baron  "Von  ♦^lufnboldt,  and 
his  assurance  that  it  produced  ana3Sthesia,  and  was  attended  with  no 
injurious  e(fects.  They  did  not  hesitate  to  grant  it  to  the  representa- 
tions of  Dr.  Morton — a  young  man  almost  a  stranger  to  the  facultj'. 
Dr.  Jackson,  it  seems,  too,  believed  they  would  grant  it  tlius  readily,  for 
he  says  he  directed  and  urged  Dr.  Morton  to  go  and  ask  it,  tu  which  he 
says  Dr.  M.  reluctantly  consented  ;  and  Dr.  .Tackson  gave  him  no  writ- 
ten paper,  and  spoke  no  kind  word  in  his  behalf  to  any  of  ihe  faculty. 
With  tne  extraordinary  facilities  for  bringing  out  sucH  discovery,  which 
Dr.  Jackson  had  at  his  very  door;  with  his  own  high  scientific  position, 
which  enabled  him  fully  to  command  them,  your  committee  cannot  be- 
lieve that  he  made  the  discovery,  and  was  compelled  by  a  kind  of  ne- 
cessity so  long  to  withhold  it  from  the  world.  Dr.  Jaclvson  shows  no 
such  necessity.  Nor  can  your  committee  believe  that  he  had  the  secret, 
and  held  it  for  any  reason  or  from  any  motive,  a  buried  talent  for  nearly 
five  years;  that  he  witnessed  from  tjme  to  time,  during  all  that  long 
period,  the  agony  of  the  human  frame  under  the  tortures  of  the  cautery, 
the  scalpel,  and  the  knife,  and  remained  silent,  while  he  had,  and  knew 
he  had,  sovereign  power  over  pain,  and  could  banish  it  instantly  with  a  ' 

But  Dr.  Jackson,  in  his  own  conduct  and  bearing  in  reference 
to  this  discover}',  and  its  verification  and  presentation  before  the  public, 
from  the  30th  of  September,  1846,  down  to  the  time  that  it  was  fully 
established,  proves  that  he  was  not,  and  did  not  believe  himself  to  be, 
the  discoverer.  Giving  Dr.  Jackson  the  full  benefit  of  the  favorable 
opinion  which  he  entertained  of  Dr.  Morton,  before  he  had  determined 
to  become  his  competitor  for  the  honor  of  the  discovery,  which  appears 
by  his  certificate,  namely,  that  he  was  a  young  man  of  marked  energy 
and  intelligence,  and  very  creditable  acquirements,  in  such  branches  of 
science  as  pertained  to  his  profession,  still  it  is  not  within  the  range  of 
probability  that  Dr.  Jackson,  had  he  possessed  the  discovery,  would 
have  intrusted  him  or  any  one  else  to  test  its  merits  in  the  manner  and 
under  the  circumstances  in  which  he  professed  to  have  intrusted  it. 

He  unquestionably  believed  Dr.  Morton  ignorant  of  sulphuric  ether, 
its  properties,  and  its  use,  and  supposed  he  had  never  thought  of  its  ap- 
plication in  the  manner  proposed.  Surely  he  would  not  select  a  man, 
ignorant  of  the  anaesthetic  agent  itself,  to  perform  the  delicate  opera- 
ration  of  first  testing  its  efficacy  and  saiisty.  He  knew  how  much  de- 
pended on  its  first  exliibition,  and  he  also  knew  that  it  required  science 
and  skill  to  render  the  expel-iment  successful,  and  to  avoid  danger  and 
disaster.  Sulphuric  ether  would  produce  insensibility  to  pain,  too  little 
of  it  would  make  the  experiment  ineffectual  alul  expose  the  operator 
to  ridicule,  too  much,  or  the  proper  qua-ntity  unskilfully  administered, 
would  produce  asphyxia,  perhaps  death.  Under  these  circumstances 
Dr.  Jackson  could  not  have  trusted  a  young  man,  without  medical 
knowledge,  and  without  the  knowledge  of  sulphuric  ether,  or  its  efiects, 
to  conduct  his  first  great  experiment,  and  he  himself  think  it  not  worth 


his  while  to  be  present.  But,  according  to  his  own  statement,  he  gave 
to  Dr.  Morton  no  sufficient  instruction  correspondent  with  the  mighty 
mission  on  wliich  he  was  sent.  He  gave  all  the  instruction  which  he 
saw  fit  lo  give  in  ten  or  fifteen  minutes,  he  walking,  and  his  pupil,  ac- 
cording to  his  last  statement,  capering  about  the  laboratory.  He  des- 
patched him,  however,  on  his  mission  of  mercy,  to  banish  pain  from  the 
human  race,  and  he  himself  quietly  took  his  seat  again  in  his  labora- 
tory, and  troubled  himself  no  further  about  the  result." 

Dr.  Jackson,  had  he  thought  on  the  subject,  knew  well  that  the  efl'ects 
of  ether  vapor  would  be  different  on-different  persons,  and  even  on  the 
same  person  in  difl^rent  states  of  the  system.  Had  he  been  about  to 
bring  out  his  own  discovery,  the  crowning  honor  of  his  life,  he  would 
not  only  have  attended  in  person  to  the*  skilful  administration  of  the 
anaesthetic  agent,  but  he  would  have  been  especially  careful  in  the  se- 
lection of  a  subject.  On  the  contrary,  if  this  was  his  experiment,  he 
directed  its  trial  on  the  worst  subject  conceivable,  a  nervous  and  re- 
fractory patient  who  refused  to  siibmit  to  ^n  operation.  That  was 
what  Dr.  Morton  professed  to  have  on  hand,  and  in  reference  to  which  Dr. 
Jackson  says  he  disclosed  his  discovery  and  gave  directions  I'or  its  appli- 
cation. The  first  operation  was  really  performed  on.  a  fortunate  subject, 
such  a  one  as  Dr.  Jackson  might  well  have  selected  ;  but  he  knew 
nothing  of  this,  or  of  anything  other  and  further  than  the  refractory  pa- 
tient. But  Dr.  Morton  returned  to  Dr.  Jackson's  laboratory  the  next  day, 
and  reported  the  success  of  the  experiment.  Dr.  Jackson,  according  to 
the  testimony  of  Barnes,  one  of  his  witnesses,  is  quite  unmoved,  and  ex- 
presses no  surprise,  but  advises,  and  as  Dr.  Jackson  himself  says,  urged 
Dr.  Morion  to  go  to  Dr.  Warren  and  get  his  permission  to  try  it  in  a 
capital  case  at  the  hospital.  Now,  if  Dr.  Jackson  were  really  the  dis- 
coverer and  had  employed  Dr.  Morton  to  make  the  experiment /or  liim, 
and  as  his  agent,  why  did  he  send  him,  or  advise  or  urge  Mm  to  go  to  the 
hospital  at  all  ?  He  refused  him  a  written  certificate  that  the  anaes- 
thetic agent  which  he  used  was  harmless,  because,  as  his  foriner  counsel, 
the  Messrs.  Lords,  said  for  him,  of  an  "  unwillingness  to  figure  in  Morton's 
adv^tisements,  (mrZ prudence  in  refusing  Lo  rnahe  himself  responsi- 
ble for  anythino;  and  everything  Morton  in  his  ignorance  might  do  icith 
an  agent  so  liable  to  the  most  dangerous  abuse."  How  came  he,  then,  to 
trust  Dr.  Morton  with  this  agent?  Why  did  he  urge  him  to  go  with  it  to 
the  hospital  ?  He  says  in  his  letter  to  Mr,  Elie  de  Beaumont  that  the  ex- 
periments in  the  hospital  were  his.  He  had  his  anaesthetic  agent  tested 
there  in  a  capital  experiment.  He  sent  Dr.  Morton  to  Dr.  Warren  to 
ask  its  admission  in  the  hospital ;  and  yet  refused  Dr.  Morton  a  written 
certificate  of  the  safety  of  the  agent  because  he  would  not  "make  him- 
self responsible.'"  And  who  was  responsible?  We  have  no  hesitation 
in  saying  that  Dr.  Jackson's  claim  to  these  experiments  is  unfounded, 
and  his  statements  so  far  untrue,  or  he  was  guilty  of  bad  faith  towards 
Dr.  Morton,  and  especially  toward  the  faculty  of  the  hospital. 

But  the  question  recurs,  v^'hy  did  he  urge  Dr.  Morton  to  go  to  the  hos- 
pital at  all  ?  He  does  not  pretend  to  have  employed  him  as  his  sole  and 
only  agenl^to  bring  out  his  discovery.  On  the  "contrary,  according  to 
the  statement  of  Barnes,  his  witness.  Dr.  Jackson  on  the  ist  of  October, 
when  applied  to  by  Dr.  Morton  to  keep  the  discovery  secret,  replied 
"No  I  I  will  have  no  secrets  with  my  professional  brethren."    He  was 


under  no  obligations  to  Dr.  Morton.  Why  did  he  send  him  to  the  hos- 
pital ?  lie  had  trusted  Dr.  Morton  in  one  case  only  ;  if  he  did  not  think 
it  worth  his  while  to  attend  at  the  hospital  himself  and  see  in  person  to 
the  administration  of  the  anaesthetic  agent  in  a  capital  case,  he  might 
have  trusted  it  to  some  one  of  the  learned  surgeons  of  the  hospital  to 
whom  he  could  in  a  few  minutes  time'  have  communicated  all  the  in- 
formation which  he  gave  to  Dr.  Morton'but  the  day  before.  He  would 
then  also  have  been  free  from  all  responsibility,  which,  though  refused 
in  writing,  he  says  was  assumed  before  witnesses,  for  what,  in  the  lan- 
guage of  Dr.  Jackson's  counsel,  "  Morton  in  his  ignorance  and  rashness 
might  do  with  an  agent  so  liable  to  the  most  dangerous  abuse"  This 
would  have  been  consistent.  If  he  engaged  a  dentist  to  use  his  discov- 
ery when  he  should  extract  a  'tooth,  would  he  not  have  engaged  a  sur- 
geon to  use  it  when  he  should  amputate  a  limb  ?  For  what  possible 
reason,  if  his  statement  be  true,  could  he  send  the  dentist,  who  was  pro- 
foundly ignorant  of  his  anaesthetic  agent,  to  administer  it  in  a  capital 
surgical' operation  among  teamed  and  skilful  men,  and  at  the  same  time 
advise  him  how  to  disguise  it  so  that  they  might  not  know  what  he 
was  using?  He  was  determined  to  have  no  secrets  with  his  profession- 
al bretheren,  and  that  he  would  tell  them  all  that  he  had  told  Dr.  Mor- 
ton;  yet  he  put  Dr.  Morton  in  possession  of  a  convenient  means  of  dis- 
guising the  agent,  and  keeping  secret  the  actual  discovery.  This  was 
consistent  and  right  if  it  were  Dr.  Morton's  discovery ;  but  a  self-con- 
tradiction on  the  instant,  almost  in  the  same  breath,  if  it  were  his  o%vn. 
It  is  clear  to  us,  that  at  this  time  Dr.  Jackson  did  not  claim  the  discov- 
er}'', but  held  himself  in  such  position  that  he  might  at  any  moment  as- 
sert an  interest  in,  or  repudiate  and  condemn  it.  Sometimes  the  exper- 
iments of  Dr.  Morton  were  successful,  and  Dr.  Jackson  spoke  well  of 
the  discovery  to  a  few  .special  friends,  as  Mr.  Hitchcock  and  Mr.  Sum- 
ner. Sometimes  the  experiments  were  unfortunate,  as  in  the  case  of  the 
boy  supposed  to  be  poisoned,  and  Dr.  Jackson  doubted  the  success  of  the 
discovery,  and  censured  Dr.  Morton,  as  in  his  conversation  with  Caleb 
Eddy  and  Francis  Whitman. 

"On  the  16th  of  October,"  says  the  former  committee,  "the  first  ope- 
ration was  performed  in  the  hospital,  at  which,  as  we  have  already 
shown,  Dr.  Jackson  did  not  attend,  and  at  which  his  name  was  not 
known.  The  second  operation  at  the  hospital  took  place  on  the  17th, 
Dr.  Jackson  taking  no  part  in  it  by  his  presence  or  his  counsel.  .  Both 
operations  were  entirely  successful,  and  both  conducted  on  the  part  of 
Dr.  Morton  to  the  entire  satisfaction  of  the  surgeons  of  the  hospital. 
But  at  this  time  Dr.  Jackson's  confidence  in  Dr.  Morton,  if  he  ever  did 
confide  in  him,  is  wholly  gone.  He  denies  in  the  conversation  with  his 
neighbor  and  friend,  Caleb  Eddy,  that  under  the  influence  of  ether  the 
flesh  of  a  patient  can  be  cut  without  pain ;  says  Morton  '  is  a  reckless 
man  for  using  it  as  he  has ;  the  chance  is  he  will  kill  somebody  yet ;' 
and  in  the  interval  between  the  30th  of  September  and  about  the  23d 
of  October,  he  declared  that  he  did  not  care  \vhat  Morton  did  with  it,  or 
how  much  Morton  advertised,  if  his  own  name  was  not  drawn  in  with  it. 

"  It  would  seem  that  as  Dr.  Morton  acquired  eclat  by  his  constant  suc- 
cess, as  he  continually  and  rapidly  rose  in  the  estimation  of  other  scien- 
tific men,  he  as  continually  and  as  rapidly  sunk  in  the  estimation  of  Dr. 
Jackson.     The  evidence  of  Francis  Whitman  and  Mr.  Caleb  Eddy 


sliow  that,  prior  and  up  to  the  2Sd  October,  Dr.  Jackson  spoke  doubt- 
ingly  of  the  effect  of  ether,  and  condemned  its  use ;  and  there  is  nc 
proof  whatever  that,  within  that  time,  he  lent  the  slightest  countenance 
to  Dr.  Morton  to  sustain  the  discovery,  and  all  his  remarks,  except  those 
stated  by  Mr.  Hitchcock  to  have  been  made  to  him  on  the  2d  and 
3d  of  October,  tend  to  create  distrust  and  destroy  confidence  both  in  the 
operator  and  the  agent  used.  His  favorable  mention  of  it  to  Dr.  Keep 
occurred  aftci-  the  26th  of  October,  the  actual  date  not  fixed,  and  was 
accompanied  with  a  strong  general  charge  of  ignorance  and  reckless- 
ness against  MorLon,  who  was  then  in  the  full  tide  of  successful  experi- 
ment. This  state  of  facts  is,  in  the  opinion  of  your  committee,  wholly 
inconsistent  with  the  assumption  that  D.r.  Jackson  was  the  discoverer; 
that  he  had  employed  Dr.  Morton  to  bring  out  the  discovery,  and  that 
the  experiments  of  Morton  were  tried  on  the  responsibility  of  Dr.  Jack- 

"  On  the  30th  of  September,  the  first  successful  operation  took  place. 
On  the  1st  of  October,  Dr.  Mort«n  applied  to  R.  H.  Eddy,  agent  for 
patents,  to  aid  him  in  procuring  a  patent  for  the  discovery.  Mr.  Eddy 
took  the  case  into  consideration,  and  did  not  see  Dr.  Morton  again  until 
the  21st.  la  the  mean  time  Dr.  Morton's  expei'iments  had  been  attended 
with  the  most  flattering  success.  Two  operations  had  been  performed 
in  the  hospital  to  the  entire  satisfaction  of  the  faculty,  and  the  discovery 
had  acquired  a  footing  in  the  medical  w^orld ;  and  prior  to  the  21st,  but 
the  precise  day  is  not  stated,  Dr.  Jackson  had  a  conversation  with  Mr. 
Edd}',  was  informed  of  the  application  of  Dr.  Morton  for  a  patent,  and 
claimed  that  he  had  some  connexion  with  Dr.  Morton  in  making  the  dis- 
covery. He  called  on  Dr.  Morton  on  the  23d,  and  it  was  then  arranged 
that  Dr.  Jackson  was  to  have  $500  for  the  information  he  had  given 
Dr.  Morion,  if  ten  per  cent,  on  the  proceeds  of  the  patent  would  produce 
that  amount.  • 

"This  arrangement  between  the  parties,  settled  by  and  between.them- 
selves  in  a  private  conference,  proved  by  their  subsequent  conversation 
with  Mr.  Eddy,  and  not  now  denied,  shows  conclusively  the  view  that 
each  had  of  his  respective  participation  in  the  discovery.  It  was  be- 
tween them  both  distinctly  a  business  transaction — an  affair  of  dollars 
and  cents,  and  as  clearly  Dr.  Jackson  called  and  introduced  the  conver- 
sation—not to,  assert  his  rights  to  the  discovery — not  to  inquire  as  to  its 
success,  for  of  this  public  report  had  advised  him — not  to  give  any  advice 
or  caution  as  to  its  further  use,  but  to  claim  a  compensation  in  money 
for  the  advice  and  information  he  had  given  to  Morton  on  the  30th  of  Sep- 
tember; and  8500,  if  ten  per  cent,  on  the  proceeds  of  the  patent  would 
produce  it,  was  agreed  upon  as  the  sum  to  be  paid  for  that  information. 
This  conversation  and  agreement  is  entirely  consistent  with  the  view 
we  have  thus  f\\r  taken  of  the  case,  but  it  is  wholly  inexplicable  on  the 
ground  assumed  by  Dr.  Jackson." 

This  agreement  being  concluded.  Dr.  Jackson  went  home,  as  he  him- 
self admits  and  charged  Dr.  Morton  $500  on  his  books  for  the  informa- 
tion which  he  had  given  him.  This  is  the  first  entry  or  pen  mark  made 
by  Dr.  Jackson  with  regard  to  this  discovery  which  has  come  to  the 
knowledge  of  your  committee.  It  is  true  Dr.  Jackson  insists  that  the  ar- 
rangement,  m  pursuance  of  which  the  entry  was  made,  was  obtained 
from  hiin  by  the  falsehood  and  isubtlety  of  Dr.  Morton.    The  assertion 


is  easily  made,  but  of  litUo  value  against  the  contradictory  statement  of 
Dr.  Morton,  and  the  whole  sequence  of  facts  going  fully  to  sustain  that 
statement.  A  written  paper  signed  by  Dr.  .lackson  on  the  27tli  of  Oc- 
tober, 1846,  sustauis  the  arrangement  resulting  in  the  entry  by  Dr.  Jack- 
son ;  but  this,  also,  he  attempts  to  invalidate  on  the  alleged  ground, 
that  it  was  altered  without  his  knowledge  or  consent  by  Mr.  Eddy,  the 
Patent  Solicitor,  after  he  had  agreed  to  sign  it,  and  before  he  signed  it, 
and  that  thus  a  false  paper  was  palmed  upon  him.  This  statement  is 
also  wholly  unsupported  and  at  variance  with  proof  and  probility.  The 
former  commit tfee,  in  speaking  of- the  conversation  testified  to  by  Mr. 
Eddy,  and  the  arrangment  that  Dr.  Morton  should  pay  Dr.  Jackson 
$500,  if  ten  per  cent,  on  the  proceeds  of  sale  would  amount  to  it,  say : 

"But  the  representations  and  advice  of  Mr.  Eddy,  the  common  friend 
of  the  parties,  modified  their  arrangement.  He  represented  to  Dr.  Mor- 
ton that  Dr.  Jackson,  from  having  gi^en  him  the  information  and  ad- 
vice spoken  of  on  the  30th  of  September,  was  entitled  to  participate  in 
the  patent  as  a  joint  discoverer.  TMiat  if  he  were  not  joined  in  the  pa- 
tent, the  fact  of  his  giving  that  information  would  be  used  to  impeach 
the  patent,  and  that  if  Dr.  Jackson  were-  joined  as  a  patentee,  his  name 
and  his  advice  and  assistance  would  be  useful  in  bringing  out  the  dis- 
covery and  giving  it  celebrity.  With  these  arguments  Dr.  Morton  was 
satisfied,  and  consented  that  Dr.  Jackson  should  be  named  as  a  joint 
discoverer  in  the  patent.  Mr.  Eddy  also  advised  with  Dr.  Jackson,  who 
informed  him  that,  '  by  the  laws  of  the  Massachusetts  Medical  Society, 
he  would  be  .prevented  from  joining  with  Dr.  Morton,  in  taking  out  a 
patent,  as  he  would  be  expelled  from  the  association,  if  he  did  so.  He 
further  stated  that  he  intended  to  make  a  professional  charge  of  $500 
for  the  advice  he  had  given  him,  and  that  Dr.  Morton  had  acceded  to 
this ;  that  he  did  not  wish  his  name  coupled  with  Dr.  Morton  in  any 
manner*  that  Dr.  Morton  might  take  out  a  patent,  if  he  desired  to  do 
so,  and  do  what  he  pleased  with  it.'  At  a  subsequent  interview,  prior 
to  the  27t.h  October,  Mr.'Eddy  urged  Dr.  Jackson  to  waive  his  objections 
to  associating  with  Dr.  Morton,  as  'I  was  confident  that  he  u  as  mistak- 
en in  his  views  as  to  what  would  be  the  action  of  the  medical  associa- 
tion ;  that  Dr.  Morion  could  not  properly  take  out  a  patent  without 
him;  and  that  by  joining  in  the  patent  he  would,  of  a  certainty,  be  ob- 
taining credit  as  a  discoverer  ;  whereas,  should  he  not  do  so,  he  might 
lose  all  credit,  as  in  the  case  of  the  magnetic  telegraph,  which  I  under- 
stood from  Dr.  Jackson  he  had  suggested  to  Professor  Morse.'  The  ob- 
jection as  to  the  medical  society  was  removed,  on  consultation  with  Dr. 
Gould.  Dr.  Jackson  consented  to  join  in  the  patent,  and  it  was  agreed 
that  he  should  have  ten  per  cent,  of  the  proceeds  for  his  interest  in  it." 

In  settling  the  question  to  whom  belongs  the  honor  of  the  discovery, 
it  is  unimportant  whether  Dr.  Jackson  did  or  did  not  desire  to  give  it 
freely  to  the  world.  Such  desire,  if  he  had  it,  did  not  make  the  dis- 
covery his  ;  and  if  it  were  not  in  fact  his,  the  desire  is  without  merit. 
In  one  point  of  vievy  only  is  the  patent  question  and  contest  relevant, 
namely :  to  show  what  the  parties  understood  of  their  several  rights ; 
nor  would  we  touch  upon  that,  after  the  above  examination  of  the  sub- 
ject by  the  former  committee  of  the  House,  but  to  add  to  it  another  item 
of  evidence.    After  this  controversy  had  arisen  and  waxed  warm,  on  the 


—  day  of  January,  1847,  Messrs.  Loring  cSc  Hays,  the  counsel  for  Dr.  Jack- 
son, addressed  a  letter  to  Dr.  Morton,  of  which  the  following  is  an  ex- 
tract : 

"It  ^^eemed  best  that  the  differences  between  Dr.  Jackson  and  your- 
self should  not  be  made  public;  on  the  contrary,  that  it  should  be  gen- 
erally understood  the  difHculties  were  in  the  course  of  adjustment.  *  * 
We  have  uniformly  said,  when  inquired  of,  that  we  were  making  arrange- 
ments that  we  hoped  would  distribute  the  profits  of  the  discovery  in 
such  a  manner  as  would  be  satisfactory- to  all  parties. 

"Under  the  present  circumstances  of  the  case,  we  think  the  least  that, 
injustice  to  yourselves  and  Dr.  Jackson,  you  can  offer,  is  25  per  cent,  of 
the  profits  arising  from  the  invention,  both  at  home  and  abroad,  in  settle- 
ment of  his  claim  upon  you.  *  i  *  ' 

"It  is  our  wish  to  settle  the  matter  amicably,  if  possible,  vye  hope 
you  will  see,  by  our  suggestions,  that  we  wish  only  to  have  a  fair  dis- 
tribution of  the  profits  of  a  discovery  made  among  those  who  cannot,  if 
they  disagree,  effectually  sustain  the  patent;  and  which,  if  sustained, 
promises  to  give  to  all  parties  large  sums  of  money. for  their  united  co-opera- 

The  proposition  was  rejected  by  Dr.  Morton.  This  transaction  shows 
the  view  that  the  parties  each  entertained,  at  that  time,  of  his  rights  in 
the  discovery;  and  it  does  not,  in  the  opinion  of  your  committee,  place 
Dr.  Jackson  in  a  favorable  position  to  denounce  the  patent,  in  the  profits 
of  which  he  desired  thus  to  participate,  as  "an  infamous  speculation  on 
human  suffering." 

The  former  committee  proceed  to  say : 

"Your  committee  do  not  feel  that  on  this  question  of  fact  the  parties 
ought  to  be  bound  by  the  legal  conclusions  of  their  common  friend,  Mr. 
Eddy,  or  by  the  papers  which  they  executed  in  pursuance  of«his  legal 
advice.  But  they'do  consider  the  communications  made  by  them  at  the 
time  to  Mr.  Eddy,  the  mutual  agreement  of  the  parties  between  them- 
selves as  touching  the  discover}',  and  the  facts  admitted  by  them  on  the 
consultation,  as  matter  of  the  utmost  importance  and  significance.  A 
voluntary  agreement  took  place  between  the  parties  on  that  day,  of 
which  both  must  have  understood  the  full  force  and  effect,  and  to  which 
neither  seems  to  have  been,  or  probably  could  have  been,  impelled  by 
advice  or  counsel.  It  was  that  the  whole  right  to  use  the  discovery 
under  the  patent  should  be  and  was  assigned  to  Dr.  Morton,  he  paying 
to  Dr.  Jackson  ten  per  cent,  on  all  sales  for  licenses. 

"Your  committee  cannot  here  fail  to  remember  the  unqualified  ternls 
of  contempt  and  reprobation  in  which  Dr.  Jtj^ckson  had,  during  the  pre- 
ceding part  of  the  monYh  down  almost  to  the  very  date  of  this  arrange- 
ment, spoken  of  Dr.  Morton  and  his  alleged  ignorance  and  recklessness 
in  the  use  of  this  agent.  They  cannot  conceive  it  possible,  if  he  felt 
himself  to  be  the  true  discoverer,  that  he  would,  by  solemn  contract,.re- 
linquish  all  power  over  his  discovery,  and  place  it  solely  in  the  hands  of 
a  man  of  whom  he  thought  so  illy.  Dr.  Jackson  indignantly  repels  the 
idea  that  it  was  done  for  the  purpose  of  gain ;  and  we  think  it  could 
not  be  the  case,  as  the  pittance  reserved  to  him,  if  he  conceived  himself 
the  discoverer,  was  so  despicably  small.  And  how  could  he  hope  to 
acquire /ame  by  abandoning  the  most  important  discovery  of  the  age  ?  


one  wliich,  if  it  were  his,  and  if  under  the  auspices  of  his  reputation, 
with  his  skill  and  science,  it  were  presented  to  the  world,  could  not  fail 
to  place  him  on  the  highest  scientific  and  professional  eminence.  How 
could  he  hope  to  acquire  fame  by  thus  surrendering  all  control  over  the 
discovery,  and  placing  it  in  the  hands  of  such  a  man  as  he  had  repre- 
sented and  still  represents  Dr.  Morton  to  be? 

"A  careful  examination  of  the  above  detailed  acts  and  conversations 
of  the  parties  down  to  the  27th  of  October,  about  which  it  would  seem 
to  your  committee  there  could  be  no  doubt,  renders  it  clear,  almost  to 
demonstration,  that  neither  Dr.  Jackson  nor  Dr.  Morton,  nor  any  of 
those  who  had  witnessed  or  aided  in  the  operations,  supposed  that  Dr. 
Jackson  was  entitled  to  the  merit  of  this  discovery,  or  any  other  merit 
than  that  of  having  communicated  important  information  to  Dr.  Mor- 
ton ;  and  if  we  trace  the  conduct  of  the  parties  further,  this  opinion  is 
but  confirmed. 

"On  the  7th  of  Novemb^er,  a  capital  operation  was  performed  by  Dr. 
Hayward  in  the  hospital,  the  patient  being  under  the  influence  of  sul- 
phuric ether,  adjninistered  b}-^  Dr.  Morton.  Dr.  Warren  being  informed 
by  Dr.  Jackson  that  he  suggested  the  use  of  sulphuric  ether  to  Dr.  Mor- 
ton, invited  him  to  attend  and  administer  the  ether.  He  declined,  for 
two  reasons:  one  was  that  he  was  going  out  of  town;  the  other,  that  he 
could  not  do  so  consistently  with  his  arrangements  with  Dr.  Morton ;  so 
the  first  capital  operation,  under  the  influence  of  ether,  was  successfullj'' 
performed.  Dr.  Jackson  not  yet  thinking  fit  to  attend.  But  in  a  com- 
munication published  in  the  Boston  Daily  Advertiser,  of  March  1st, 
1847,  he  says:  'I  was  desirious  of  testing  the  ether  in  a  capital  opera- 
tion, and  Dr.  Warren  politely  consented  to  have  the  trial  m^de ;  and  its 
results  proved  entirely  satisfactorj',  an  amputation  having  been  per- 
formed, under  the  influence  of  the  ethereal  vapor,  without  giving  any 
pain  to  •the  patient.'  It  strikes  the  mind  with  some  surprise  that  Dr. 
Jackson  should  chiim  this  operation  as  an  experiment  made  by  him  at 
his  request,  and  to  satisfy  himself  of  the  efficacy  of  the  '  etherial  vapor' 
in  a  capital  operation,  when  the  only  connexion  which  he  had  with  the 
operation  was  to  decline  attending  it  when  specially  invited.  Indeed, 
so  entirely  did  he  omit  to  inform  himself  on  the  subject  of  this  experi- 
ment, which  he  declares  to  be  his,  that,  in  the  above  communication,  he 
names  Dr.  Warren  as  the  surgeon  who  performed  the  operation,  which 
was,  in  fact,  performed  by  Dr.  Hayward. 

"Another  surgical  operation  was  performed  at  the  BroomSeld  House, 
on  the  21st  of  November,  the  ether  again  administered  by  Dr.  Morton. 
Dr.  Jackson  was  then  present  for  the  first  time,  on  invitation,  but  merely 
as  a  spectator.  On  the  2d  of  January,  1847,  an  operation  was  performed 
in  the  hospital,  when  Dr.  Jackson  attended,  and  brought  with  him  a  bag; 
of  oxygen  gas  to  relieve  the  patient  from  asphyxia,  in  case  it  should 
supervene.  Nothing  of  the  kind  occurred,  and  the  gas  was  not  used. 
This  is  the  first  and  only  act  of  Dr.  Jackson's  made  known  to  your  com- 
mittee, which  implied  that  he  had  any  duty  to  perform  in  the  admims- 
tration  of  the  ether,  or  that  he  rested  under  any  responsibility  as  to, its 

Among  the  papers  not  heretofore  presented.  Dr.  Jackson  has  brought 
before  your  committee  a  letter  of  George  T.  Dexter,  dated  December  19, 
1851,  in  which  the  writer  states  that  Dr.  Jackson,  in  the  year  184f4^^com^ 


miinicated  to  him  his  discovery  of  sulphuric  ether  as  an  anaesthetic  agent, 
and  spoke  of  it  freely,  earnestly,  and  confidentially,  as  a  means  of  allevi- 
ating much  human  suftering  in  surgical  operations  ;  that  in  the  winter 
of  1842,  the  witness  called  on  Dr.  Jackson  in  his  laboratory,  who  told 
him  he  continued  his  experiments  with  sulphuric  ether,  and  that  it  was 
likely  to  prove  all  that  he  had  anticipated  or  more. 

We  hear  nothing  however,  from  any  other  quarter,  of  continued  experi- 
ments by  Dr.  Jackson,  after  that  of  the  winter  of  1841-2.  Dr.  Jackson 
himself  does  not  profess  to  have  made  any. 

There  is  also  a  letter  from  D.  I.  Browne,  who  says  that,  in  1845,  Dr. 
Jackson  stated  to  him  that  he  had  discovered  in  the  vapour  of  pure  sul- 
phuric ether  a  preventive  of  pain  in  surgical  operations,  and  that  he 
spoke  of  its  effects  in  such  operations  with  enthusiasm.  To  both  these 
gentlemen  he  made  his  communications  in  confidence,  and  no  written 
statement  of  it  appears  from  either  of  them  until  December,  1851,  four 
years  after  the  discovery  was  a  subject  of  public  contest,  and  not  until 
after  the  scientific  papers  had  been  for  nearly  as  long  filled  with  the 
statements  and  evidence  of  the  conflicting  claimants.  Without  impu- 
ting any  willful  aberration  from  truth  to  either  of  the  above  named  per- 
•  sons,  your  committee  think  it  but  just  to  remark  that  their  evidence,  so 
far  as  correctness  of  memory  is  concerned,  is  entitled  to  much  less  weight 
than  it  would  have  been  if  given  while  the  controversy  was  fresh  and 
rife,  and  before  full  publication.  There  is  certainly  great  danger  that 
a  witness,  who  has  read  with  feelings  of  partiality  the  mass  of-evidenee 
exhibited  in  this  controversy,  and  the  conflicting  publications  of  the  par- 
ties and  their  friends,  will,  when  he  attempts  to  state  a  conversation  re- 
lative to  the  subject,  which  occurred  six  or  nine  j'ears  ago,  blend  with 
his  recollection  of  it  the  statements  and  the  evidence  which  has  been 
four  years  with  it  in  his  mind,  and  thus  cause  the  one  to  be  colored  by 
or  mistaken  for  the  other.  For  reasons  akin  to  this,  the  English  courts 
of  chancery  will  not  permit  a  witness  to  be  examined  in  a  cause  after 
publication  of  the  evidence.  And  in  the  opinion  of  your  committee,  this 
evidence  weighs  but  as  dust  in  the  balance  against  the  evidence  grow- 
ing out  of  the  acts  and  omissions  of  Dr.  Jackson,  which  your  committee 
have  already  considered.  Dr.  Jackson  may  have  told  these  persons  all 
that  he  wrote  to  M.  Elie  de  Beaumont  on  the  13th  of  November,  1846,  but 
even  'his  your  committee  think  improbable.  He  may  have  repeated  in 
his  own  person  the  speculations  of  Dr.  Beddoesand  Sir  Humphrey  Davy, 
connected  with  the  experiments  of  Dr.  Townsend.  Dr.  Wells  did  this, 
and  even  more.  This  knowledge  of  these  speculations  had  become  the 
common  possession  of  the  medical  mind,  a  common  highwa}'^,  in  which 
it  was  not  discovery  to  travel.  And  it  involves  no  improbability  to  sup- 
pose (hat  these  persons  were  mistaken  as  to  the  exact  statement  that  Dr. 
Jackson  made  them,  and  that  it  is  colored  and  extended  in  their  letters. 

The  last  deposition  of  Dr.  N.  C.  Keep,  laid  before  the  former  commit- 
tee of  the  House  shortly  before  the  coming  in  of  their  report,  shows  what 
wild  Ire.aks  feeling  and  imagination  sometimes  plays  with  human 
memory.    He  testifies  as  follows  : 

"I  became  associated  in  the  business  and  practice  of  dentistry  with  Dr. 
Mortf.ii  on  the  twenty-eighth  day  of  November,  in  the  year  1846.  On 
the  next  day  we  were  about  to  prepare  an  advertisement  for  publication, 
•when  Dr.  Augustus  A.  Gould  called  at  our  rooms.    Being  pressed  with 


business,  1  requested  him  to  write  the  advertisement,  with  which  request 
he  complied.  After  he  had  written  it,  which  he  did  at  his  own  house, 
he  brought  it  to  me,  and  we  read  it  together.  In  it  the  discovery  of 
etherization,  without  any  suggestion  having  been  made  by  me  to  that 
effect,  was  ascribed  in  explicit  terms  to  Dr.  Charles  T.  Jackson.  Dr. 
Gould  pointing  with  his  linger  to  the  words  in  which  this  ascription  was 
expressed,  said  to  me  'that  will  please  .lackson.'  I  then  showed  the 
advertisement  to  Dr.  Morton,  and  we  read  it  together.  He  then  ex- 
claimed with  emphasis,  'that  is  good ;  I  like  that;  I'll  lake  it  to  the 
printer.'  Copies  of  the  advertisement  were  made  under  the  direction 
of  Dr.  Morton,  and,  as  I  supposed  at  the  time,  without  alteration,  and 
published  by  his  order  in  three  evening  newspapers.  On  seeing  the 
advertisement  in  the  Evening  Traveller,  on  the  evening  of  the  same 
day,  J  was  greatly  surprised  to  find  that  the  words  which  ascribed  the 
ether  discovery  to  Dr.  Jackson, had  been  struck  out.  The  next  morning 
I  called  the  attention  of  Dr.  Morton  to  the  fact,  and  asked  him  why  he 
struck  out  those  words.  He  hesitated,  and  seemed  not  to  know  what  to 
say,  when  I  said  to  him  :  '  Morton,  why  do  you  quarrel  with  Jackson  ? 
You  injure  yourself,  and  injure  the  cause.'  His  reply  was  :  'I  would'ht 
if  he  would  behave  himself.  The  credit  of  the  discovery  belongs  to  Dr. 
Jackson  ;  Jackson  shall  have  the  credit  of  it ;  I  want  to  make  money 
out  of  it.' 

"  I  stated  the  foregoing  facts  to  my  family  on  the  aforesaid  evening, 
and  afterwards  to  other  individuals.  1  have  heretofore  declined  volun- 
tarily testifying  to  them,  but  consider  that  I  have  no  right,  upon  a  call 
of  such  a  nature  as  is  now  made  upon  me,  to  withhold  the  testimony. 

"  N.  C.  KEEP. 

"Boston,  February  8,  1849." 

On  this  the  former  committee  remark  : 

"When  this  deposition  was  received,  the  chairman  of  your  commitee 
showed  it  to  Dr.  Morton,  who  in  a  few  minutes  brought  to  him  a  bound 
book  entitled  'Miscellaneous  Notes.'  On  the  91st  page  was  a  manu- 
script in  the  handwriting  of  Dr.  A.  A.  Gould,  written  evidently  on  the 
outside  sheet  of  a  letter  addressed  to  Dr.  A.  A.,  and  post-marked  '  Wash- 
ington city,  D.  C,  July  9,'  from  all  which  it  was  most  manifest  that 
this  was  the  original  draft  of  the  advertisement  testified  toby  Dr.  Keep. 
This  paper  contrasted  with  the  evidence  of  Dr.  Keep  as  the  contents  of 
an  original  draft,  fixes  in  the  minds  of  your  committee  the  just  value  of 
this  species  of  evidence.    This  paper  is  as  follows: 

"' The  subscribers,  having  associated  themselves  in  the  business  of 
dental  surgery,  would  respectfully  invite  their  friends  to  call  on  them  at 
their  rooms,  No.  19,  Tremont  Row;  they  confidently  believe  that  the 
increased  facilities  which  their  united  experience  will  afford  them  of 
performing  operations  with  elegance  and  despatch,  and  the  additional 
advantage  of  having  them  performed  without  pain,  by  the  use  of  the 
fluid  recently  invented  by  Doctors  Jackson  and-  Morton,  will  not  only 
meet  the  wishes  of  their  former  patients,  but  secure  to  them  additional 
patronage.' " 

Your  committee  also  examined  the  original  paper,  which  is  the  sub- 
ject of  the  above  deposition,  and  are  satisfied  that  it  has  never  been 
altered  by  erasure  or  interlineation  since  it  came  from  the  hands  of  Dr. 


Goultl.  The  entire  narrative,  therefore,  of  Dr.  Keep  that  the  paper 
originally  conceded  the  whole  merit  of  the  discovery  to  Dr.  Jackson, 
the  conversation  relating  to  that,  the  alteration  by  Dr.  Morton  before 
publication,  the  reproof  given  him  by  the  witness,  and  Dr.  Morton's  reply, 
still  insisting  that  the  credit  was  due  to  Dr.  .Jackson,  and  that  he  should 
have  it,  is  all  shown  to  be  false  from  beginning  to  end,  the  mere  creation 
of  an  excited  imagination.  Not  an  error  in  regard  to  the  force  of  terms, 
as  is  probably  the  case  in  the  two  former  depositions  considered  above, 
but  a  statement  which,  by  a  fortunate  reference  made  in  it  to  a  written 
paper,  is  proved  to  have  no  foundation  whatsoever  in  truth. 

Your  committee  cannot  better  present  'their  veiws  of  the  mass  of 
evidence  filed  before  the  former  committee  of  the  House  than  by  here 
embodying  in  its  connexion  so  much  of  their  report  as  relates  to  it. 
They  say  : 

'  "The  testimony  of  Don  P.  Wilson  and  .T.  E.  Hunt,  who  were  assistants 
in  Dr.  Morton's  shop  for  a  few  months,  commencing  in  November,  1846, 
is  adduced  to  impeach  the  evidence  of  Leavitt,  Spear,  and  Hayden,  by 
their  alleged  declarations,  and  the  title  of  Dr.  Morton  to'  the  discovery, 
by  his  declarations.  This  is  a  species  of  testimony  against  vi^hich  the 
books  on  evidence  especially  put  us  on  our  guard.  It  is  a  sweeping 
kind  of  evidence  which  covers  everything;  and  if-the  imputed  conversa- 
tion be  private,  or  if  it  be  general,  (as  he  "  often  said,"  or  "  always  said,")  it 
is  often  difficult  to  subject  the  evidence  to  the  ordinary  tests  of  surround- 
ing circumstances  and  inherent  probability,  so  as  to  fix  its  value.  There 
is  enough,  however,  in  these  depositions  to  show  that  they  are  of  but 
little  weight.  It  is  to  be  remembered,  in  the  first  place,  that  they  are 
in  direct  contradiction  to  the  testimony  of  Whitman,  Spear,  Leavitt, 
and  Hayden,  and  they  contradict  by  strong  implication  the  testimony  of 
Mr,  Metcalf  and  Mr.  Veightman,  the  character  of  all  and  each  of  whom 
is  most  satisfactorily  vouched.  The  testimony  of  these  two.  witnesses 
cannot  be  true,  unless  the  four  first  above  named  entered  into  a  conspi- 
racy to  carry  a  point  by  perjury  ;  but,  as  to  them,  we  have  examined 
their  evidence — we  have  tested  it  by  its  agreement  with  surrounding 
circumstances,  and  we  are  satisfied  of  its  truth. 

"This  of  itself  would  be  enough  to  dispose  of  the  testimony  of  Wil- 
son and  Hunt ;  but  it  is  proper  to  look  at  the  inherent  character  of  their 

"Wilson,  in  the  commencement  of  his  deposition,  swears,  by  way  of 
recital,  that  Dr.  Charles  T.  Jackson  was  the  discoverer  of  the  applica- 
tion of  ether  to  produce  insensibility  to  pain  in  surgical  operations ;  and, 
among  other  things,  he  says,  'Morton  first  claimed  the  discovei-y  to  he  his 
own'  in  February,  1847.  To  say  nothing  of  the  looseness  and  total 
want  of  caution  with  which  the  fact  of  the  discovery  is  stated — a  fact  of 
which  Mr.  Wilson  certainly  had  no  knowiiedge  whatever — he  testifies 
directly  against  the  recorded  fact  in  the  second  particular,  for  Dr.  Mor- 
ton did  claim  the  discovery  as  early  as  September  30,  184G,  and  his  claim 
was  given  to  the  world  the  next  day  in  the  publjc  prints.  Ills  claim, 
and  his  alone,  was  known  to  the  surgeons  of  the  hospital  during  the 
month  of  October,  and  his  public  circulars  and  the  •numerous  answers 
to  them,  which  he  has  exhibited  to  the  committee,  show  that  during  all 
that- time,  and  at  all  times,  he  claimed  the  discovery  publicly  and  to  the 
world  as  his  own.    The  witness  goes  on  to  say :  '  In  the  administration 


of  the  ether  I  was  guided  by  and  solely  relied  upon  the  advice  and  as- 
surances of  Dr.  Jackson,  received  through  Morton.  Wc  never  dared 
to  follow  Mortoii's  own  directions' — and  adds  that,  if  they  had,  the  con- 
sequences would  probably  have  been  fatal  and  etherization  a  failure. 
And  further,  that  he  never  knew  Morton  ^  to  apply  it  to  ti  patient  in  the 
office.  This  was  fronm  a  most  apparent  fear  and  shunning  of  resnonsi- 
bility.'"  ,  ^ 

"  Now  as  to  the  advice  and  assurances  of  Dr.  .Tackson,  alleged  to  have 
been  received  from  time  to  time  through  Dr.  Morton,  we  have  no  rea- 
son to  suppose  that  any  such  repeated  intercourse  and  communication 
took  place  during  that  time,  and  we  have  no  evidence  of  the  actual  fact 
of  any  such  meeting  and  instructions.    On  the  contrary,  there  is  evi- 
dence of  unkind  feelings  existing  on  Dr.  Jackson's  part  towards  Dr. 
Morton ;  and  in  the  opinion  of  your  committee  the  testimony  of  Dr. 
Keep  indirectly  contradicts  the  testimony  of  Wilson  on  that  point,  and 
directly  upon  each  of  the  other  points  last  named.    Dr.  Keep's  object 
arid  the  tendency  of  his  evidence  is  to  depreciate  Dr.  Morton  ;  but  for 
faults  the  very  reverse  of  those  with  which  he  is  charged  by  Wilson, 
namely,  a  '  rash  recklessness,''  instead  of  'a  most  manifest  fear  of  respon- 
sibility,^ in  administering  the  ether;  and  he  evidently  is  impressed  with 
the  belief,  and  designs  .to  let  it  be  known,  that  the  success  of  etheriza- 
tion depended  upon  his  skill  and  prudence.    He  says  '  it  was  his  (Morton's) 
practice  during  that  time  to  administer  the  ether  without  any  adequate 
provision  for  the  admission  of  atmospheric  air;  and  whenever  operations 
were  performed  by  other  persons  in  the  office,  and  under  his  supervision, 
he  directed  the  application  in  the  same  way,  in  consequence  of  which 
many  of  the  operations  were  unsuccessful,  and  great  distress  and  suffer- 
ing were  induced.'    Dr.  Keep  then  states  that  he  made  ample  provision 
for  the  admission  of  atmospheric  air,  and  advised  the  assistants  to  do 
the  same  thing;  but  'they  being  influenced  by  his  (Morton's)  directions 
and  known  wishes,  did  not  at  all  times  follow  my  advice.'    Not  a  word 
is  said  by  Dr.  Keep  of  any  advice  or  directions  coming  from  Dr.  Jack- 
son, which,  if  it  had  actually  occurred,  must  have  been  known  to  him, 
and  would  have  formed  an  impoi-tant  item  in  the  current  incidents  of 
the  time.    The  evidence  of  these  two  witnesses  stand  thus.    They  were 
in  the  ofRce  of  Dr.  Morton,  during  the  same  '  thirty  days,'  Keep  the  su- 
perior, Wilson  the  assistant.    Keep  says  Dr.  Morton  was  in  the  habit 
of  administering  the  ether  in  a  particular  manner,  and  that  he  was  rash  - 
and  reckless.    Wilson  says  that  he  never  administered  it  at  all,  and  that 
he  was  timid  and  shrank  from  responsibility.    But  the  surgeons  of  the 
hospital  agree  with  neither  one  nor  the  other,  but  show  that  he  repeat- 
edly administered  it  in  the  hospital  himself,  to  their  entire  satisfaction, 
and  with  entire  success.    Wilson  says  the  assistants  in  the  ofhce  would 
not  follow  the  directions  ofj,Dr.  Morton,  but  relied  upon  such  as  were 
brought  from  Dr.  Jackson.    Keep  says  nothing  about  instructions  from 
Dr.  Jackson,  but  that  the  assistants  in  the  office  were  influenced  by  the 
directions  and  known  wishes  of  Dr.  Morton,  so  that  his  salutary  advice 
and  remonstrances  were  often  of  no  avail.    Wilson  says  Dr.  Morton  ex- 
plained to  him,  an  assistant  in  his  office,  very  fully  all  the  particulars  of 
the  discovery  and  patent ;  but  to  Dr.  Keep,  his  partner,  he  extended  no 
such  confidence.    We  leave  these  two  depositions  to  be  viewed  in  their 
strong  contrast ;  and  as  to  the  testimony  of  Don  P.  Wilson,  considering 


its  inherent  improbability,  the  suspicious  nature  of  the  species  of  testi- 
mony to  which  it  belongs,  the  manner  in  which  it  is  contradicted  di- 
rectly and  indirectly  by  the  evidence  of  Dr.  Keep ;  and  when  we  further 
consider  that  it  is  directly  opposed  to  the  evidence  of  Whitman,  Spear, 
Leavitt,  and  Dr.  Hayden,  and  indirectly  to  that  of  Metcalf  and  Weight- 
man  ;  and  that  it  is  also  in  direct  conflict  with  numerous  public  printed 
cards  and  notices  of  the  day,  we  feel  that  we  cannot  give  it  the  slightest 
weight  or  consideration. 

"The  testimony  of  .Tohn  E.  Hunt  is  subject  to  the  same  objections 
with  those  of  Don- P.  Wilson,  and  other  objections  which  your  commit- 
tee will  now  proceed  to  notice.  In  order  to  bring  out  a  declaration  on 
the  part  of  Spear,  that  he  had  never  taken  the  ether,  he  represents  him 
as  taking  it  one  evening,  and  in  the  excitement  produced  by  it,  seizing 
upon  a  countryman  present,  and  handling  him  roughly.  The  apology 
which  Spear  mukes  to  the  countryman  is,  'this  was  the  first  time  he  had 
ever  taken  the  ether;'  not  that  it  was  the  first  time  ether  so  effected  him, 
or  that  the  rudeness  was  committed  under  the  influence  of  ether,  but 
that  it  was  the  first  time  he  had  ever  taken  the  ether — a  fact  which  had 
little  to  do  with  the  act  of  rudeness,  and  was  a  most  irrelevant  apology. 
But  the  inquiry  thereupon  made  by  Mr.  Hunt  is  most  remarkably  incon- 
sequent ;  he  having  heard  Spear  say  that  it  was  the  first  time  he  had 
ever  taken  ether,  asks  him  if  it  'ever  affected  him  in  the  same  way  be- 
fore.' Now,  if  he  had  been  pressing  Spear  with  a  cross  examination, 
in  order  to  entrap  him  in  some  important  admission,  the  inquiry  might, 
perhaps,  have  been  made ;  but  it  was  then  a  matter  of  no  importance 
whatever  whether  Spear  had  breathed  the  vapor  of  ether  or  not,  and  it 
becomes  in  the  highest  degree  improbable  that  both  branches  of  the 
conversation,  so  inconsistent  with  each  other,  actually  occurred;  and  as 
the  statement  contradicts  the  testimony  of  so  many  respectable  witness- 
es, and  is  in  itself  improbable,  your  committee  do  not  feel  bound  to  give 
it  credence.  Again:  in  a  walk  with  Spear,  Hunt  gets  from  him  a  full 
disclosure  of  the  discovery,  and  a  statement  that  it  belonged  to  Dr.  Jack- 
son. According  to  this,  Dr.  Morton  got  the  requisite  information  and 
instructions  from  Dr.  Jackson ;  came  home  ;  tried  it  on  a  vmnan,  and  it 
worked  first-rate;  and  he  had  since  then  continued  to  use  it  under  the 
directions  of  Dr.  Jackson.  The  evidence  shows  that  Spear  well  knew 
that  the  experiment  was  not  tried  on  a  woman,  but  on  a  man,  whose  cer- 
tificate was  read  next  day  by  hundreds  in  the  city  of  Boston.  But  the 
witness  evidently  took  this  part  of  the  story  from  the  narrative  of  Don 
P.  Wilson  (whose  deposition  was  taken  on  the  same  day)  about  the  re- 
fractory female  patient  named  in  the  cojiversation  with  Dr.  Jackson  on 
the  30th  of  September,  who  was  to  be  cheated  with  atmospheric  air, 
administered  from  a  gas  bag. 

"From  among  the  thousands  with  whom  Dr.  Morton  communicated, 
touching  this  discovery,  during  the  winter  of  184G  and  1847,  some  six  or 
seven,  with  whom  he  had  personal  controversies,  testify  to  his  admis- 
sions that  he  was  not  the  discoverer.  They  differ  as  to  the  degrees  of 
directness  and  fullness  with  which  he  opened  the  matter  to  them,  but  it 
yill  be  found,  as  your  committee  believe,  to  be  a  rule  in  this  case,  hav- 
ing no  exception,  that  the  more  violent  the  hostility  of  the  individual, 
the  more  fiercely  he  assailed  Dr.  Morton's  patent,  the  more  free  Morton 
became  in  his  communication,  and  the  more  fully  did  he  unbosom  him- 


self;  and  his  statements  always  went  directly  to  defeat  his  own  claims, 
and  support  the  defence  of  the  opponent  to  whom  he  made  it.  For  ex- 
ample, H.  S.  Payne  says  '  that,  in  the  early  part  of  December,  184G,  he 
commenced  applying  the  vapor  of  ether  to  produce  insensibility  to  pain 
in  surgical  operations.  This  was  afler  I  had  heard  of  the  discovery  of 
the  preparation  by  Charles  T.  Jackson,  of  the  city  of  Boston.'  He  then 
states  that  Dr.  Clarke  purchased  of  Dr.  Morion  a  right,  under  the  patent, 
for  Rensselaer  and  several  adjoining  counties,  who  sold  to  Dr.  Bordell 
and  Dr.  Payne,  was  notified  by  Dr.  Blake,  as  the  agent  of  Dr.  Morton, 
to  abandon  the  use  of  etlier  in  his  practice.  After  failing  in  an  attempt 
at  negotiation  with  Dr.  Bordell,  he  went  to  Boston  and  had  an  interview 
with  Dr.  Morton,  who  not  once  only,  but  repeatedl}^  declared  that  Dr. 
Jackson  was  the  sole  discoverer  ;  'that  all  the  knowledge  he  possessed 
in  relation  to  its  properties  and  application  came  from  Dr.  Jackson,  and 
that  he  never  had  any  idea  of  applying  sulphuric  ether,  or  that  suphu- 
ric  ether  could  be  applied  for  the  aforesaid  purposes,  until  Dr.  Jackson 
had  suggested  it  to  him,  and  had  given  him  full  instructions.'  This  most 
frank  communication  raises  at  once  a  difficulty  about  the  patent,  which 
is  obviously  void  if  that  statement  be  true;  and  Dr.  Morton  attempts 
to  remove  it  by  saying  'that  he  had  been  very  fortunate  in  affecting  an 
arrangement  with  Dr.  Jackson  before  any  one  else  had  the  opportunity, 
and  that  he  was  the  first  man  to  whom  Dr.  Jackson  communicated  the 
discover}^.'  And  he  adds :  'Dr.  Morton  again  and  f/^'am  said  that  he 
was  not  in.  a,ny  way  the  discoverer  of  the  new  application  of  ether,  but 
that  the  idea  had  been  first  communicated  to  him  by  Dr.  Jackson,  who  loas 
its  discoverer,  and  that  his  {Dr.  Morlon^s)  interest  in  the  patent  was  merely 
a  purchased  one  ;  and,  moreover,  that  he  was  very  lucky  in  anticipating  all 
other  persons  by  first  receiving  so  precious  a  discovery  from  the  lips  of  Dr. 

"After  seeing  the  fullness  and  unreserved  character  of  this  important 
conversation,  and  the  apparent  earnestness  with  which  Dr.  Morton  at- 
tempts to  impress  the  fact  that  he  had  no  participation  whatever  in  the 
disccrvery,  not  satisfied  with  suffering  it  to  escape  him  inadvertently  or 
even  stating  it  once,  but  repeating  it  '  again'  and  'again,'  as  if  he  were 
anxious  to  impress  it,  one  could  not  but  be  surprised  to  know  that  Dr. 
Payne,  before  this  conversation,  had  pirated  this  discovevy;  had  set  up 
for  himself;  bade  defiance  to  Dr.  Morton  and  his  assignees;  and  on  his 
return  home,  published  a  card,  in  which  he  by  no  means  denies  that  Dr. 
Morton  discovered  the  thing  which  he  and  his  assignees  are  using,  but 
averring  that  his  (Dr.  Payne's)  anodyne  vapor,  vihich  in  his  affidavit  he 
admits  to  be  sulphuric  ether,  'is  not  the  invention  of  the  great  Dr.  Mor- 
ton, but  an  entirely  superior  article,  and  all  persons  must  beware  how 
they  infringe  on  his  rights.'  And  the  more  especially  is  it  surprising 
when  we  reflect  that  this  state  of  facts,  which  Dr.  Morton  took  such 
unusual  pains  to  repeat  and  to  impress  upon  this  his  most  determined 
opponent,  would,  if  true,  render  the  patent  wholly  void  in  his  hands, 
and  put  his  discovery  entirely  in  the  power  of  Dr.  Payne,  and  all  others 
who  should  see  fit  to  avail  themselves  of  it.  There  can  be  no  absolute 
proof  that  Dr.  Morton  did  not  make  these  statements  ;  but  it  is  clear  that 
it  was  against  his  interest  to  make  them  ;  and  there  is  also  full  proof 
that  they  are  not  true,  and  that  they  are  in  direct  opposition  to  his  nu- 
merous printed  and  published  statements.    They  are  not  true ;  for,  be- 


sides  the  six  witnesses  who  testify  directly  or  indirectly  to  the  discovery 
in  its  inception  and  progress,  it  distinctly  conflicts  with  the  conversation 
of  the  parties,  and  their  mutual  understanding,  on  the  26th  arid  27th  of 
October,  as  testified  to  by  R.  H.  Eddy.  It  is  in  direct  conflict  with  the 
claim  promul;?ated  by  Dr.  Morton,  and  received  and  accredited  by  the 
scientific  gentlemen  in  the  medical  hospital,  who  performed  the  opera- 
tions testing  the  efficacy  of  the  discovery. 
"  Dr.  Warren  says : 

"'Boston,  January  6,  1847. 

"'I  hereby  declare  and  certify,  to  the  best  of  my  knowledge  and  recol- 
lection, that  I  never  heard  of  the  use  of  sulphuric  ether  by  inhalation, 
as  a  means  of  preventing  the  pains  in  surgical  operations,  until  it  was 
suggested  by  Dr.  W.  T.  G.  Morton,  in  the  latter  part  of  October,  1846.' 

"And  alike  opposed  to  all  the  numerous  printed  circulars  which  Dr. 
Morton  and  his  agents  had  distrib.uted  and  were  then  distributing  in 
every  part  of  the  United  States.  It  appears  that  prior  to  this  date.  Dr. 
Morton's  attention  had  been  called  to  an  opposing  claim  to  the  discovery, 
and  to  the  experiments  at  the  hospital,  and  he  had  'taken  a  decided  pub- 
lic stand  against  them,  as  witness  his  circular,  publisheci  t^e  20th  day  of 
November,  1846,  and  the  note  thereto  attached : 

■    '"dental  operations  without  pain. 

" '  Dr.  Morton  has  made  a  great  improvement  in  dental  and  surgical  ope- 
7'ations,  for  which  letters  patent  have  been  granted  by  the  Government 
of  the  United  States,  and  to  secure  which  measures  have  been  taken  in 
foreign  nations. 

"'Having  completed  the  necessary  preparations  for  the  purpose,  and 
greatly  enlarged  his  establishment,  Dr.  Morton  respectfully  announces 
to  his  friends  and  the  public  that  he  is  now  ready  toaffordevery  accom- 
modation to  persons  requiring  dental  operations. 

"'His  assistants  and  apartments  are  so  numerous,  and  his  entire  ar- 
rangements on  so  superior  a  scale,  that  immediate  and  the  best  atten- 
tion can  be  given  to  every  ca?e,  and  in  everj*^  branch  of  his  profession. 

"'The  success  of  this  improvement  has  exceeded  the  most  sanguine 
expectations,  not  only  of  himself  and  patients,  but  of  the  very  skilful 
and  distinguished  surgeons  M'ho  have  performed  operations  with  it  at 
the  Massachusetts  General  Hospital,  and  other  places  in  Boston,  or  wit- 
nessed its  use  at  his  office.    Rooms,  No.  19,  Tremont  Row.  / 

"'Boston,  November  20,  1846. 

"'***  Inasmuch  as  one  or  two  persons  have  presumed  to  advertise  my 
improvement  as  their  own,  and  even  issued  notices  to  the  effect  that  the 
applications  of  it  at  the  hospital  were  made  by  them,  and  that  the  cer- 
tificates of  its  efficacy  and  value  were  given  to  them  by  the  surgeons  of 
THAT  institution,  I  fecl  it  my  duty  to  warn  the  public  against  such  false 
and  unwarrantable  statements  ;  and  at  the  same  time  to  caution  all  per- 
sons against  making,  aiding,  or  abetting  in  any  infringement  of  my  rights, 
if  they  would  avoid  the  trouble  and  cost  of  prosecutions  and  damages 
at  law.' 

"And  your  committee  do  not  think  it  credible  that  Dr.  Morton, Testing 
his  claims  to  the  discovery  on  the  grounds  which  he  did — having  a  most 
decided  public  opinion  at  home  in  his  favor  as  the  discoverer — having 
freshly  tasted  of  the  intoxicating  draught  of  fame — and  recently,  in  the 
public  papers  and  in  circulars,  asserted  his  authorship  of  the  discovery 

and  defied  his  rivals— they  do  not  think  it  credible  that  he  should  seize 
the  first  occasion  which  ofieretl,  in  conversation  with  a  most  determined 
opponent,  to  declare  the  i'alsehood  of  all  that  he  had  written,  published' 
and  claimed — to  disclaim  the  honor  which  the  world  so  generally  and 
freely  accorded  him — confess  away  all  his  pecuniary  rights  under  the 
patent — and  even  support  his  surrender,  disclaimer,  and  sacrifice  by  a 
self-debasing  assertion  which  he  well  knew  was  false.  The  improba- 
bility is  too  strong  to  allow  it  ci-edit. 

"  But  Dr.  Payne  says,  that  in  the  early  part  of  December,  1 846,  he  com- 
menced his  operations  with  sulphuric  ether,  and  that  this  was  after  he 
had  heard  of  the  discovery  of  Dr.  Charles  T.  Jackson,  of  Boston.  How 
he  heard  of  the  discovery  of  Dr.  Jackson  he  does  not  say ;  surely  not 
by  the  information  of  the  scientific  men  of  Boston,  for  they  attributed 
the  discovery  to  Dr.  Morton  ;  not  by  the  public  prints,  cards,  and  adver- 
tisement, for  the  name  of  Dr.  Morton  atone  appeared  there ;  and  he 
says,  in  conclusion,  that  he  was  very  much  astonished  in  learning,  some 
time  after  his  visit  to  Boston,  that  Dr.  Morton  '  asserted  any  claim  what- 
ever' to  the  discovery,  and  this,  after  the  publication  and  circulation  of 
the  notices,  cards,  and  circulars  of  Dr.  Morton,  and  after  the  witness  had 
long  been  engaged  in  an  embittered  contest  with  Morton  and  his  as- 
signees, and  the  publication  of  his  (Dr.  Payne's)  card.* 

"Dr.  Allen  Clarke,  who  also  testifies  to  admissions  by  Dr.  Morton, but 
much  less  strongly  than  Dr.  Payne,  and  whose  statement  may  well  be 
the  result  of  a  misunderstanding,  made  the  more  decided  by  hostility  to 
Dr.  Morton,  and  a  desire  to  defeat  his  patent,  was  the  purchaser  of  a 
right,  for  yhich  he  gave  his  note  for  $350.  He  at  length  determined 
not  to  pay  the  note,  but  to  join  in  contesting  the  patent,  and  he  expres- 
ses the  opinion,  that  by  keeping  up  the  controversy  for  one  year,  the 
patent  would  be  broken  down.  Dr.  Blaisdell  says  '  Clark  M'ould  not 
pay  you,  for  he  could  get  the  use  of  the  letheon  for  one  year,  before  you 
could  get  the  license  from  them,  and  by  that  time  they  could  ruin  the 
sale  of  it  there,'  and  he  might  well  have  added,  and  with  it  the  dis- 
coverer; a  very  common  fortune  to  men  who  render  the  most  important 
services  to  their  race. 

"  Time,  and  the  reasonable  limits  of  a  report,  not  allow  your  com- 
mittee to  dwell  upon  the  few  remaining  items- of  kindred  testimony. 
The  weight  and  strength  of  them  have  been  considered  ;  and  the  residue, 
like  them,  are  composed  of  alleged  statements  by  Dr.  Morton  to  per- 
sons with  whom  he  then  had,  or  has  since  had,  personal  controver- 
sies touching  his  discovery,  and  they  are  all  in  contradiction  to  the 
claims  which  Dr.  Morton  daily  promulgated  in  print  to  the  world. 
Those  printed  papers  are,  as  your  committee  conceive,  ihe  best  evi- 
dence of  what  Dr.  Morton  all  that  time  claimed,  and  what  he  conceded; 

•  "Notice. — Dr.  Payne  has  just  returned  from  Boston,  and  has  only  time  now  to  give  notice 
to  his  friends  and  the  public,  that  in  a  day  or  two  he  will  be  able  to  show  to  the  public  that  the 
anodyne  vapor  which  he  has  used  is  not  the  invention  of  the  great  Dr.  Morton,  but  an  entirely 
superior  article,  and  that  lie  shall  continue  to  use  it.  And  nil  persons  must  beware  how  they  in- 
fringe on  his  rights."  Extract  of  a  letter  of  Mr.  E.  Filley,  attorney  of  Dr.  A.  Clarke,  of  Lan- 
singburg,  New  York,  to  Dr.  Morton's  attorney  of  Boston". — "As  one  Dr.  H.J.  Payne,  dentist,  of 
the  city  of  Troy,  persists  in  the  use  of  the  apparatus  and  gas,  and  proclaims  defiance  to  Dr.  Mor- 
ton and  any  of  his  assigns,  Dr.  Clarke  is  completely  thwarted  in  his  enjoyment  of  the  rights  se- 
cured to  him  by  Dr.  Morton.    The  conduct  of  Dr.  Payne  is  particularly  annoying." 


they  are  of  the  time  and  of  the  transaction  ;  they  do  not  admit  of  misstate- 
ment, misconstruction,  or  falsification  ;  they  are  of  unvarying  and  exact 
memory;  and  they  speak  the  language  of  undoubted  truth  as  to. the 
claims," though  not  as  to  the  rights  of  the  author.  His  claims,  conteni- 
porane'ous  with  these  papers,  are  what  these  witnesses  attack.  His 
rights  we  have  already  considered  ;  and,  as  to  the  evidence  of  his  claims, 
that  which  he  insisted  and  said  was  his,  the  published  papers  stand 
against  the  testimony  of  these  witnesses,'  as  written  or  printed  evidence 
against  parol.  His  alleged  confessions,  made  under  the  most  improba- 
ble circumstances,  are  in  direct  contradiction  to  his  printed  circulars, 
daily  and  contemporaneously  promulgated  to  the  vi'orld.  If,  then,  these 
alleged  parol  admissions  stood  against  the  printed  and  published  papers, 
without  anything  beside  to  add  strength  to  either,  we  could  not,  in  ouf 
conscience,  in  weighing  the  conduct  of  men  by  rational  probabilities, 
hesitate  to  give'the  decided  preponderance  to  the  printed  over  the  parol 
evidence.  But  the  parol  evidence  runs  counter  to  all  the  leading  facts 
in  the  case  heretofore  considered  and  established,  in  the  opinion  of  your 
committee,  by  the  most  indubitable  proof,  while  the  printed  circulars 
and  notices  entirely  agree  with  them,  and  make  vi^ith  them  one  uniform 
and  consistent  whole.  The  objects  of  the  parties,  their  claims,  their  efforts, 
their  purposes,  appear  the  same  throughout.  The' deposition  of  A.  Blais- 
dell  is,  however,  worthy  of  especial  comment.  At  the  time  he  professes 
to  have  had  the  conversation  in  which  Dr.  Morton  accords  all  the  merit 
of  the  discovery  to  Dr.  Jackson,  he' was  the  a^ent  of  Dr.  Morton,  spread- 
ing his  circulars  throughout  the  land  ;  had  taken  care  to  send  one  of 
,  them  to  each  and  every  surgeon  dentist  in  New  York  ;  and  yet  now  de- 
clares that  he  was  especially  charged  with  the  information  which  he 
takes  care  to  inculcate,  that  these  circulars  were  all  false  in  the  most 
material  point,  and  that  the  patent  which  he  is  selling  is  void  by  reason 
of  that  falsehood.*  He  was  at  the  same 'time  in  habits  of  almost  daily 
correspondence  with  Dr.  Morton ;  and  the  difficulties  which  he  met 
with  occurred  while  he  was  absent,  and  it  would  most  naturally  have 
suggested  itself  to  him  to  communicate  them  to  Dr.  Morton  by  letter, 
and  in  that  way  get  his  assent  to  obviate  them  by  declaring  Dr.  Jack- 
son the  sole  discoverer.  But  he  does  not  do  so ;  if  he  had,  his  letter 
and  Dr.  Morton's  answer  would  have  been  in  writing;  and,  then,  if 
there  were  truth  in  the  statement  of  those "  alleged  admissions,  there 
would  have  been  one  item  of  written  evidence  to  support  them.  But 
this  is  wholly  wanting.  Blaisdell  professes  to  have  waited  till  his  re- 
turn to  Boston,  and  then  to  have  held  a  private  conversation  with  Dr. 
Morton,  who  at  once  and  eagerly  admitted  away  his  whole  claim,  both 
to  money  and  reputation. 

"It  is  remarkable  that,  in  more  than  three  months,  during  all  which 
time  these  witnesses  say  Dr.  Morton  conceded  to  Dr.  Jackson  the  merit 

•  Extract  from  A.  Blaudell's  letter  to  Dr.  Morton,  dated  New  York,  December  29,  1846.  

"I  am  sending  one  of  your  circulars  to  every  dentist  in  New  York." 

New  York,  December  31,  1846 — "  I  have  sent  a  circular  to  every  dentist  in  New  York  city 
and  written  on  the  cover  whore  I  am  to  bo  found."  ' 

In  a  letter  from  Pittsburg,  dated  February  1,  1847,  he  writes  :  "I  gave  him  a  few  circulars  to 
give  his  neighbors."    Remarks  to  the  same  clTect  occur  in  other  letters. 

October  26,  1846 — "  Dr.  Morion  has  discovered  a  compound,  by  inhaling  which,  a  person  ig 
thrown  into  a  sound  sleep,  and  rendered  insensible  to  pain,"  &c. 


of  being  the  'sole  discoverer,'  and  during  all  which  time  he  was  daily 
writing  and  almosfdaily  publishing,  there  is  not  produced  one  line  writ- 
ten by  Dr.  Morton,  or  written  to  him,  countenancing  the  idea;  nor  is 
there  one  act  of  his  which  looks  to  such  admission,  A  written  admis- 
sion, or  an  ambiguous  paragraph  in  writing,  which  could  be  fairly  con- 
strued into  an  admission,  or  a  letter  written  to  him  during  that  tithe 
which  could  be  reasonably  construed  to  refer  to  such  admission,  .would 
be  tenfold  the  value  of  all  the  parol  testimony  now  presented,  of  those 
admissions.  Dr.  Movton  has  shown  to.  the  committee  several  bound 
volumes  of  letters  addressed  to  him  upon  this  suiiject,  all  of  which  re- 
cognise him  as  the  discoverer.  Viewing  these  statements  in  this  point 
of  light,  comparing  them  with  the  printed  and  published  papers,*  in 
which  Dr.  Morton  contemporaneously  and  continually  asserted  his 
claims  to  the  discovery,  and  finding  them  opposed,  the}!-are,  to  the 
well-settled  facts  of  the  case  already  considered,  they  weigh,  in  our 
opinion,  as  dust  in  the  balance,  and  in  no  wise  affect  the  well-settled 
facts  of  the  case."t 

It  may  not  be  irrelevant  to  remark  that  there  is  not,  in  all  this  mass  of 
depositions  and  letters,  any  contemporaneous  written  paper  supporting 
Dr.  Jackson's  claim  to  the  discover}'-,  or  impugning  Dr.  iNIorton's — all  is 
parol.  Declarations  made  by  Dr.  .Jackson  asserting  the  claim,  and 
declarations  made  by  Dr.  Morton,  even  in  the  heat  of  the  controversy, 
to  his  most  violent  enemies,  abandoning  his  claims  and  surrendering 
them  to  Dr.  Jackson.  But  no  written  paper  sustaining  either.  And 
where  in  two  instances  the  statement  of  Dr.  Jackson  touches  a  paper 
written  or  signed  by  himself,  he  repudiates  them  as  false,  and  as  obtain- 
ed by  circumvention  and  fraud  ;  because,  if  true,  they  disprove  his  claim. 
And  in  the  instances  in  which  the  testimony  of  his  witnesses,  tending 
the  admissions  and  abandonment  of  Dr.  Morton,  can  be  directly  tested 
by  written  papers,  they  are  thereby  in  every  instance  proved  to  be  false. 
Your  committee  consider  that  species  of  parol  evidence,  made  up  of 
alleged  declarations  of  the  parties  merely,  unsupported  by  a  single  writ- 
ten paper,  but  contradicted  by  every  thing  in  writing  which  they  touch, 
entitled  to  no  weight  whatever,  against  the  well  known  and  fully  admit- 
ted acts  of  the  parties  in  this  case. 

*  "  To  the  public, — Dr.  Morton,  surgeon  dentist,  No.  19,  Tremont  Row,  Boston,  hereby  gives 
public  notice  that  letters  patent  have  been  granted  him  by  the  Government  of  the  United  States 
for  his  iinvroveincnt,  vphereby  pain  may  be  prevented  in  dental  and  surgical  operations." — Boston 
Evening  Transcript,  November  20,  1846. 

"  Lnporlant  information  for  the  puplic  at  large. — I  do  hereby  give  this  public  notice,  and 
warn  all  persons  against  using  my  invention."  "  I  am  particularly  desirous  that  my  invention 
should  not  be  abused  or  intrusted  to  ignorant  or  improper  hands,  or  applied  to  nefarious  purposes." 
"New  York  Express,  Baltimore  Patriot,  United  States  (Philadelphia)  Gazette,  will  please  insert 
the  above  twice  every  week  for  four  weeks,  and  send  their  bills  to  this  office."  In  same  paper 
December  4,  1846.  , 

f  In  answer  to  a  communication  by  Dr.  J.  F.  Flagg,  in  which  he  threatens  to  take  possession 
of  the  invention,  and  in  which  he  attributes  the  credit  of  it,  if  there  was  any,  to  Dr.  C.  T.  Jack- 
son, Dr.  Morton  says  :  "  Unless  he  can  show — and  I  do  not  know  any  body  else  that  can — that 
(to  use  his  own  words)  it  has  been  known  and  published  for  some  years  tliat  the  vapor  of  sulphu- 
ric ether  would  produce  the  visible  efTccts  now  said  to  bo  discovered,  then  the  invention  is  origi- 
nal."— Huston  Evening  Transcript,  December  10,  1846. 

In  a  letter  from  Dr.  Wells  (Boston  Post,  April,  1847,)  he  makes  the  following  extract  from 
Dr.  Morton's  letter  to  him  in  the  early  part  of  October,  1846  :  "The  letter  which  is  thus  intro- 
duced with  my  signature,  was  written  in  answer  to  one  which  I  received  from  Dr.  Morton,  who 
represented  to  me  that  he  had  discovered  a  compound." 


Of  Dr.  Jackson's  acts,  while  the  surgeons  of  the  principal  curative 
institution  in  New  England — the  Massachusetts  General  Hospital — 
were  applying  the  critical  test  to  a  discovery  which  he  now  claims  as 
his  own,  the  committee  have  before  them  new  evidence  in  the  following 
letter,  upon  which  they  forbear  to  comment  farther  than  to  remark  how 
decidedly  it  confirms  the  conclusions  at  which  they  have  already  ar- 
rived:  ■ 

Dr.  Henry  J.  Bigelow,  Professor  in  Harvard  University,  and  Sur- 
geon in  the  Massachusetts  General  Hospital,  in  answer  to  a  letter  of 
the  Hon.  Geo.  T.  Davis,  says : 

Boston,  Fehruanj  5,  1852, 

Dear.  Sir:  I  beg  to  acknowledge  the  receipt  of  your  letter,  dated 
January  21,  addressed  to  Dr.  Hay  ward.  Dr.  Townsend,  and  myself,  and 
containing  the  following  extract  from  a  written  remonstrance  of  Dr. 
Charles  T.  Jackson,  which  has  been  laid  before  a  committee  of  the  House 
of  Representatives. 

"The  cause  of  asphyxia,  so  commonly  produced  in  the  early  adminis- 
tration of  ether  at  the  Massachusetts  General  Hospital,  I  traced  di- 
rectly to  the  employment  of  those  valved  inhalers.  In  the  weakened  state 
of  respiratory  action,  under  aneesthetic  agents,  the  valves  are  not  raised 
in  attempts  to  breathe,  and  the  patient  is  drowned  by  the  pure  ether  or 
chloroform  vapor.  On  the  removal  of  the  valve  by  my  directions,  as- 
phyxia at  once  ceased  to  occur  at  the  Hospital,  and  I  had  no  occasion 
to  employ  the  oxygen  gas  to  revive  the  patients,  as  I  was  requested  to 
do  by  one  of  the  eminent  surgeons  of  that  institution  ;  for  no  asphyxia 
happened  after  my  advice  was  followed,  to  throw  aside  the  inhalers 
and  use  a  sponge." 

In  detailing  as  you  request  "a  precise  recollection  of  facts  upon  these 
points  so  far  as  they  fell  under  my  personal  observation,"  I  may  say 
that,  to  the  best  of  my  knowledge,  being  very  familiar  with  those  early 
experiments  at  the  hospital,  generally  administering  the  ether  myself. 

1st.  There  was  no  more  asphyxia  then,,  from  ether,- than  there  is 

2d.  There  was  certainly  no  period  at  which  asphyxia  at  once  ceased 
to  occur  at  the  hospital. 

3d.  This  alleged  asphyxia  had  little  or  no  connexion  with  any  valves. 

4th.  I  never  heard  that  any  valves  were  suppressed,  nor  that  Dr. 
Jackson  suppressed  them. 

5th.  Asphj-xia  as  it  then  occurred  was  of  no  great  importance,  and 
was  dependent  upon  the  same  causes  which  sometimes  produce  it 

6th.  When  Dr.  Jackson  brought  oxygen  gas  to  the  hospital,  nobody 
required  it ;  it  was  not  used,  nor  has  it  been,  to  my  knowledge,  any- 
where since  used,  in  this  connexion. 

In  reply  to  your  inquiry  how  far  Dr.  Jackson  personally  superinten- 
ded the  early  administration  of  etl^er  at  the  Hospital,  t  answer,  not 
at  all.  He  not  only  exercised  no  superintendence  at  the  Hospital,  as- 
sumed no  responsibility,  but  actually  did  not  come  there  for  more 
than  two  months  after  ether  was  regularly  in  use  in  that  institution.* 

•Seo  Dr.  Townsend's  letter,  page  34. 


I  will  venture  to  allude  to  another  point,  which  is  of  no  importance  to 
anybodjr  but  mysell".    Yet  it  directly  concerns  me,  and  1  should  be  glad 
of  an  opportunity  to  refer  to  it,  in  order  to  refute  certain  statements  of 
Dr.  Jackson.    In  a  part  of  his  "remonstrance,"  Dr.  Jackson  uses,  as  I  ' 
am  informed,  the  following  words  : 

"The  few  medical  gentlemen,  or  young  surgeons,  connected  with  the 
Ho.-^pital,  who  have  not  fully  recognized  my  rights  in  this  discovery,  are, 
I  lament  to  say  it,  anxious  to  obtain  a  larger  share  of  the  glory  than 
rightfully  belongs  to  them  ;  and  one  of  them*  *  *  * 

"  Dr.  H.  J.  Bigelow  very  distinctly  claims  the  honor  of  being  the  first 
to  promulgate  this  great  discovery,  the  first  to  make  the  profession  ac- 
quainted with  it,  he  having  stealthily  published  my  discovery  before  I 
was  ready  to  lay  it  before  the  public,  and  while  I  was  temporarily  ab- 
sent from  the  city,  by  reading  an  account  of  it  before  two  societies  of 
which  I  was,  and  am  now,  a  member — the  Boston  Society  for  Medical 
Improvement  and  the  American  Academy  of  Arts  and  Sciences — and 
afterwards  published  his  paper  in  the  Boston  Medical  and  Surgical  Jour- 
nal, against  my  solemn  protect  and  denunciation  of  it  as  false,  unjust, 
and  quackish.  In  that  paper,  a  copy  of  the  journal  containing  which  I 
send  to  you,  please  observe  that  the  nature  of  the  agent  used  is  carefully 
concealed,  and  hence  it  is  a  mere  quack  advertisement." 

The  paper  above  alluded  to  was  the  first  paper  upon  the  newly  dis- 
covered effects  of  ether.  It  was  intended  by  Dr.  Morton,  and  did  hap- 
pen to  be  the  instrument  by  which  the  discovery  was  announced  to  the 
profession  and  the  world  at  large,  both  in  this  countrj^  where  it  was  at- 
tacked by  the  incredulous,  and  in  Europe,  where  it  was  widely  reprinted. 

This  paper,!  to  quote  a  contemporary  publication,  was  intended  to  be 
a  narration  of  physiological  facts  observed  by  myself,  with  a  few  con- 
cluding remarks  connected  with  the  patent  right.  It  was  published 
more  than  five  years  ago,  and  those  objections  of  Dr.  Jackson's  are  now 
to  me  altogether  new,  and  I  believe  they  are  also  new  to  every  body 

It  will  only  be  necessary  to  state  in  reply:  1st.  That  Dr.  Jackson 
could  not  at  that  time,  for  the  want  of  the  requisite  facts,  have  himself 
written  this  physiological  paper.  In  fact  that  nothing  but  his  present 
assertion  shows  that  he  had  either  the  intention  or  desire  to  do  it,  and 
that  there  was  no  reason  whatever  either  to  consult  him  either  in  read- 
ing or  writing  the  paper,  or  to  suppose  that  he  wished  to  be  consulted. 

2d.  That  he  read  the  paper  before  it  was  printed,  and  assented  to  its 
publication  in  print. 

1.  One  thing  is  very  striking.  Dr.  Jackson  never  saw  a  single  surgical 
or  dental  operation  with  ether  until  long  after  it  was  a  confirmed  dis- " 
covery,  and  until  weeks,  if  not  months,  after  this  paper  was  printed.  As 
this  paper  was  an  account  of  the  new  physiological  effects  of  ether,  ob- 
served in  Dr.  Morton's  and  other  experiments.  Dr.  Jackson,  who  saw 
none  of  these  experiments,  would  have  been  unable  to  have  made  any 
communication  to  a  society  upon  this  point,  even  if  he  had  wished  to, 
for  the  simple  reason  that  for  two  months  he  had  not  the  requisite  ma- 
terials, but  no  body  will  now  believe  that  he  wished  to  make  any  such 

•  A  part  of  the  argument  is  here  a  little  loose  and  is  omitted. 
^  Boston  Medical  and  Surgical  Journal,  December,  1846. 


communication  ;  he  had,  according  to  his  own  statement,  kept  the  matter 
from  the  public  for  years,  and  we  may  reasonably  infer  that  he  would 
have  done  so  till  this  day,  if  the  disclosure  had  been  left  to  him.  And  it 
is  well  known  that  he  kept  aloof  for  a  long  time  fi'om  any  public  con- 
nexion with  Dr.  Morton  or  with  ether,  while  physiological  papers  were 
written  by  the  dozen  by  other  people,  without  any  objection  on  his  part. 

I  should  have  been  certainly  most  happy  to  have  consulted  Dr.  Jack- 
son, had  I  any  idea  that,  as  he  now  pretends,  he  desired  it ;  but  even  if 
I  had  done  so,  it  is  plain  that  he  could  have  given  me  no  information 
upon  the  subject  which  was  under  investigation^  for  he  had  no  control 
whatever  over  Dr.  Morton's  experiments — he  had  never  seen  them,  nor 
had  he  any  authority  to  make  use  of  them,  if  he  had  seen  them.  The 
paper  alluded  to  was  not  designed  to  promulgate  old  theory  nor  the 
suspicions  of  two  years  standing,  which  Dr.  Jackson  claims,  but  new 
facts,  and  for  these  I  applied  to  Dr.  Morton.  He  instituted  the  experi- 
ments ;  he  had  their  sole  control ;  he  took  the  responsibility  of  them,  while 
Dr.  Jackson  kept  out  of  the  way. 

The  application  of  ether  tor  anaesthetic  purposes,  was  at  that  time  sup- 
posed by  everybody  to  be  wholly  in  the  hands  of  Dr.  Morton.  Dr.  Mor- 
ton, through  the  intervention  of  a  friend  of  his,  who  was  also  a  friend 
of  my  own,  allowed  me  to  take  notes  of  these  experiments  for  publica- 
tion, and  as  far  as  1  know,  I  was  the  first  person  not  connected  with  Dr. 
Morton's  office,  except  Dr.  Gould,  who  saw  these  experiments. 

As  to  Dr.  Jackson's  knowledge  of  the  cases  at  the  hospital,  which 
are  also  detailed  in  my  paper,  Dr.  Jackson  did  not  come  there  till  Jan- 
uary 2d,  of  the  year  after  they  occurred. 

2.  When  this  paper  was  to  be  pi'inted,  a  new  element  was  to  be  in- 
troduced into  it,  at  the  request  of  Dr.  Morton ;  the  question  of  patent,  a 
delicate  subject  already  mooted  by  the  interested  parties,  and  about 
which  it  was  obviously  proper  that  Dr.  Jackson,  who  was  interested  in 
it,  should  be  consulted.  Though  he  might  not  care  who  prosecuted  or 
announced  the  physiological  experiments,  the  matter  of  patent  was 
plainly  a  different  question.  ■ 

I  thfrefore  sought  an  interview  with  Dr.  Jackson  at  his  house  several 
times.  Failing  to  find  him,  I  left  for  him  a  verbal  request  that  he  would 
be  present  at  a  final  conference  at  the  house  of  Dr.  Gould,  where  the 
paper  was  to  be  finally  considered  and  adjusted  before  being  printed  ; 
especially  the  few  closing  paragraphs,  then  for  the  first  time  appended 
to  it,  and  relating  to  the  question  of  patent. 

During  this  conference,  the  door  was  flung  open,  and  Dr.  Jackson  en- 
tered, declaiming  vociferously.  He  was  quietly  asked  what  might  be  the 
occasion  of  his  excitement ;  and  was  requested  to  read  the  paper  then 
upon  the  table,  and  under  discussion,  and  to  see  whether  he  did  or  did 
not  approve  it.  Dr.  Jackson  examined  the  paper,  and  finding  it  to  be 
of  a  strictly  physiological  character,  touching  very  lightly  the  questions 
of  patent  and  of  discovery,  he  changed  his  tone,  ceased  to  object,  re- 
quested one  or  more  alterations  of  the  part  bearing  upon  these  la'tter 
questions,  especially  the  suppression  of  a  paper  relating  to  the  electric 
telegraph,  and  assented  to  the  publication  of  ^  the  paper. 

This  took  place  at  the  house  of  Dr.  Gould,  in  Treraont  street,  on  Sun- 
day  evenuig,  three  days  before  the  publication  referred  to,  and  in  the 
presence  of  Rr.  Gould,  Mr.  Eddy,  and  Dr.  Morton.    Dr.  Jackson  assent- 


ed  to  the  publication  of  the  paper  as  it  then  stood,  and  the  conference 
was  amicably  terminated. 

This  statement,  together  with  the  accompanying  letters  of  Dr.  Gould, 
and  Mr.  Eddy,  stating  their  recollection  of  the  facts,  may  be  compared 
with  the  above  extract  from  Dr.  Jackson's  remonstrance. 

I  have  the  honor  to  be,  very  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 


Dr.  Gould's  letter  referred  to  in  the  above : 

Boston,  July  14,  1852. 

Dr.  H.  J.  BiGELovv  : 

Dear  Sir:  In-  answer  to  your  inquiry  respecting  my  recollection  of 
a  certain  interview  at  my  house  between  yourself  and  Dr.  C.  T.  Jack- 
son, and'  of  the  impression  I  received  at  the  time,  I  would  reply  that 
I  distinctly  recollect  the  intervievi^  alluded  to.  The  article  you  were 
about  to  publish  was  submitted  to  Dr.  Jackson,  and  the  latter  part,  at 
least,  where  alone  any  objectionable  expressions  were  supposed  to  lie, 
was  read  by  him,  after  which  I  received  no  other  impressions  than  that 
he  found  nothing  to  object  to.  One  passage  was  excluded,  which  it  was 
thought  might  have  some  bearing  on  the  question  of  discovery,  and 
I  think  at  his  suggestion. 

Yours  truly, 


Mr.  Eddy's  letter  referred  to  in  Dr.  Bigelow's  letter : 

Boston,  July  12,  1852. 

Dr.  H.  J.  BiGELow: 

Dear  Sir  :  In  reply  to  your  request  to  me  to  state  what  I  recollect  in 
relation  to  a  conference  you  had  with  Dr.  C.  T.  Jackson  one  Sunday 
evening  at  the  house  of  Dr.  A.  A.  Gould,  and  on  the  subject  of  a  paper 
you  was  preparing  for  publication  in  the  Boston  Medical  Journal,  which 
paper  was  subsequently,  within  a  few  days  after,  published,  and  treated 
of  the  recent  discovery  of  the  application  of  ether  to  annul  pain  in  surgi- 
cal operations,  I  would  remark  that  I  was  present  at  such  interview, 
that  the  article  you  had  proposed  was  exhibited  to  Dr.  Jackson,  who 
carefully  examined  it,  and  after  suggesting,  or  their  having  been  sug- 
gested, some  trifling  changes  in  it,  he  expressed  his  entire  satisfaction 
with  it,  and  willingness  that  it  should  be  published.  I  afterwards  read 
the  article  as  it  appeared  in  the  Medical.  Journal,  and  so  far  as  my  re- 
collection serves  me,  I  perceived  nothing  in  it  differing  from  Avhatit  was 
decided  to  be  satisfactory  to  Dr.  Jackson  on  the  said  evening. 

Yours  respectfully, 

R.  H.  EDDY. 

Dr.  Jackson,  in  his  letter  to  Baron  Von  Humbolt,  says: 

"I  at  once  appealed  to  the  public,  destroyed  the  bond  given  me  b}' 

Mr.  Morton,  and  made  the  use  of  ether  in  surgical  operations  free  to  all 


The  transaction  of  deslroying  the  bond  is  somewhat  ludicrous. 

On  the  morning  of  the  26th  May,  1847,  more  than  five  months  after 
the  patent  had  been  taken  out,  after  it  had  for  some  time  become  un- 
available, and  Dr.  Morton  had  lost  a  good  deal  of  money  by  it.  Dr.  Gay 
called  at  Dr.  Morton's  office,  with  a  young  gentleman  in  his  company,  and 
somewhat  dramatically  cancelled  the  bond.    This  was  the  bond  that 


secured  to  Dr.  Jackson  ten  per  cent,  on  tlie  net  profits  of  the  American 
patent.  On  the  same  day,  the  anniversary  of  the  Massachusetts  Medi- 
cal Society  took  place,  and  at  the  dinner  in  the  afternoon.  Dr.  Jack- 
son made  a  speech,  in  which  he  claimed  to  have  been  entirely  disinter- 
ested in  his  connection  with  the  discovery,  and  said  he  had  destroyed 
the  bond.  He  did  not  say  that  he  had  destroyed  it  that  morning,  just  in 
season  for  the  speech ;  but  we  are  permitted  to  infer,  that  it  was  des- 
troyed at  -a  time  when  it  had  some  value. 

The  inconsistency  between  these-late  claims  for  disinterestedness  on- 
the  part  of  Dr.  Jackson,  and  his  unremitted  efforts  to  obtain  the  utmost 
possible  pecuniary  advantage  from  the  discovery,  so  long  as  there  was 
any  chance  of  its  being  profitable,  is  apparent  to  all. 

So  long  as  the  discovery  was  under  test,  and  its  result  was  uncertain, 
Dr.  Jackson  is  unseen  and  unheard.  When  it  became  evident,  from  the 
two  experiments  at  the  hospital,  that  the  discovery  was  of  value,  at  the 
close  of  October,  Dr.  Jackson  first  appears,  and  then  only  for  the  purpose 
of  claiming  compensation  of  Dr.  Morton  for  professional  advice.  He  ac- 
cepts five  hundred  dollars.  His  friend  obtains  for  him  ten  per  cent,  of 
the  net  profits  of  the  American  patent.  He  next  refuses  to  sign  the 
European  papers  without  receiving  ten  per  cent,  on  the  foreign  patents. 
From  this  he  rises  to  twenty  per  cent.,  and  on  the  28th  of  January  he 
claims  "  twenty-five  per  cent.,  both  at  home  and  abroad,  as  the  least  that 
in  justice"  can  be  offered  him  ;  and  his  counsel,  of  course  with  his  sanc- 
tion, speaks  of  the  patent  as  one  which  "if  sustained,  promises  to  give 
to  all  parties  large  sums  of  money  for  their  united  co-operation."  He 
opens  negotiations  with  Dr.  Morton,  through  Mr.  Hays,  for  obtaining  a 
joint  patent  in  France,  by  the  instrumentality  of  M.  De  Beaumont,  whose 
letters  to  Dr.  Jackson  on  this  point  were  shown  to  Dr.  Morton.  After 
all  hope  of  pecuniary  benefit  from  the  patent  is  at  an  end,  he  cancels 
the  bond,  and,  with  a  strange  forgetfulness  of  all  his  previous  conduct, 
comes  out  in  the  character  of  one  who  disdains  pecuniary  compensa- 
tion. Not  only  so,  but  he  seems  determined  that  Dr.  Morton  shall  re- 
ceive no  compensation.  On  the  20th  November,  1847,  the  physicians 
and  surgeons  of  the  hospital  (with  one  exception)  prepared  a  memorial 
to  Congress,  setting  forth  the  importance  of  this  diseovery,.and  praying 
the  government  to  make  a  payment  "to  those  persons  who  shall  be 
found,  on  investigation,  to  merit  compensation,"  on  condition  that  the  pa- 
tent be  given  up.  Knowing  that  this  would  result  in  an  official  inquiry 
into  the  discovery,  Dr.  Morton  promoted  it  to  the  utmost  of  his  power. 
Dr.  Jackson  on  the  other  hand,  remonstrated  against  it,  on  the  professed 
ground  that  he  would  submit  his  claims  to  no  tribunal,  and  that,  as  the 
sole  discoverer,  he  wished  no  reward  beyond  the  gratitude  of  mankind. 

It  is  well  known  that  an  effort  was  made  in  London,  by  subscription, 
for  a  donation  to  the  discoverer  of  the  effects  of  ether.  By  letters  to  gen- 
tlemen in  this  country  from  friends  in  London,  we  are  informed  that  a 
sum,  estimated  at  £10,000,  was  considered  as  secured.  But  the  con- 
troversy and  doubt  created  by  Dr.  Jackson's  communications  to  the 
French  Academy  caused  it  to  be  abandoned. 

Dr.  Jackson  speaks  of  Dr.  Morton  in  terms  of  great  bitterness.  He 
assails  his  private  character,  declaring  that  it  is  infamous,  and  that  in 
knowledge  and  inlellect  he  is  an  ignoramus  and  an  imbecile,  not  only 
not  possessed  of  science,  but  mentally  incapable  of  acquiring  it ;  and 


that,  while  administering  his  anaesthetic  vapor  to  the  patients  at  the 
hospital,  he  was  offensive  to  the  faculty  by  reason  of  ignorance  and 
quackery.  Much  of  his  letter  to  Baron  Von  Humboldt,  which  he  has 
filed  before  your  committee  as  his  answer,  for  this  reaso  i,  would  not  be 
suffered  to  remain  on  the  files  of  a  court  of  chancery,  but  would  be 
stricken  out  for  scandal  and  impertinence.  Your  committee  utterly  re- 
fused, as  stated  above,  to  receive  evidence  of  general  character,  or  of  par- 
ticular accusation  or  defence  for  or  against  either  of  the  parties,  not  relev- 
ant to  the  issue.  But  as  the  charges  advanced  by  Dr.  Jackson  against  Dr. 
Morton  in  the  letter  above,  must  remain  on  the  files  of  the  House,  and  be 
printed  with  the  proceedings  of  the  committee,  they  deem  it  but  just  to  say 
that  these  charges  are  not  only  not  supported  by,  but  are  utterly  incon- 
sistent with,  the  current  proofs  in  this  case.  And  they  think  it  proper  to 
refer  to  the  letters  herewith  published  of  Drs.  Warren,  Hayward,  Bige- 
low,  and  Townsend,  Surgeons  of  the  Massachusetts  General  Hospital, 
for  conclusive  evidence  of  his  capability  to  conduct  the  experiments;  to 
the  following  testimonial  by  the  Trustees  of  that  Institution  for  the  esti- 
mation in  which  they  and  the  public  generally  held  his  services:  to  the 
cetificates  and  diploma  for  medical  qualifications  on  pages  19,  20,  and  to 
the  letters  fi-om  two  of  the  Ex-Governors  of  his  State  and  the  Ma5-or  of 
the  city  in  which  he  resides,  for  the  estimation  in  which  he  is  held  at  home  : 

"Boston,  May  12,  1848. 

,"  Dear  Sir  :  At  a  meeting  of  the  Board  of  Trustees  of  the  Massachu- 
setts General  Hospital,  a  few  weeks  since,  it  was  informally  suggested, 
that  a  limited  subscription  of  one  thousand  dollars  shall  be  raised  for  your 
benefit,  in  acknowledgment  of  your  services  in  the  late  ether-discovery; 
no  one  to  be  asked  to  subscribe  more  than  ten  dollars.  We  consented 
to  act  as  a  Committee  to  receive  and  apply  tlie  proceeds  of  this  subscrip- 
tion. The  proposed  sum  having  been  obtained,  we  have  now  the  plea- 
sure of  transmitting  it  to  you.  We  also  enclose  the  subscription  book 
in  a  casket  which  accompanies  this  note.  Among  its  signatures  you 
will  find  the  names  of  not  a  few  of  those  most  distinguished  among  us 
for  worth  and  intelligence  ;  and  it  may  be  I'emarked,  that  it  is  signed  by 
every  member  of  the  Board  of  Trustees. 

"You  will,  we  are  sure,  highly  value  this Jirsi  testimonial,  slight  as  it 
is,  of  the  gratitude  of  your  fellow-citizens.  That  you  may  hereafter 
receive  an  adequate  national  reward  is  the  sincere  wish  of  your  obedi- 
ent servants,  ^ 


"THOS.  B.  cuims. 

"  To  Dr.  William  T.  G.  Morton." 

The  box  accompanying  this  note  had  upon  it  the  following  inscrip- 
tion:  In  front,  "Testimonial  in  honor  of  the  Ether  Discovery  of  Sept. 
30,  1846."  And  on  the  lid,  "This  box,  containing  one  thousand  dollars, 
is  presented  to  William  Thomas  Green  Morton  by  the  members  of  the 
Board  of  Trustees  of  the  Massachusetts  General  Hospital,  -and  other 
citizens  of  Boston,  May  8, 1848." 

Letter  from  Governor  Briggs, 

"  Council  Chamber,  Boston,  Jan.  12,  1840. 

"Dear  Cohwin:  Allow  me  to  introduce  to  your  acquaintance  Dr. 
Morton,  of  this  city,  whose  name  the  world  knows  as  the  discoverer  of 


the  application  of  ether  to  alleviate  pain.  An  application  to  Congress 
for  some  compensation  for  the  discovery  is  to  be  made.  May  I  ask  you, 
for  the  doctor,  who  thus  far,  thouj?h  he  has  relieved  thousands  of  others 
from  suffering,  has  had  nothing  but  suffering  himself  as  his  reward,  to 
look  at  his  case,  and  if  you  find  it  has  merits,  give  it  your  support. 

"*  Sincerely  and  truly  yours, 


"  Hon.  Thos.  Corwin." 

Letter  f  rom  Governor  Morton. 

"Boston,  January  12,  1849. 

"  Dear  Sir  :  I  am  happy  to  have  the  opportunity  of  presenting  to 
your  acquaintance  Dr.  W.  T.  G.  Morton,  of  this  city.  Dr.  M.,  who  by 
reputation  is  doubtless  known  to  you,  has  the  distinction  to  have  his 
name  identified  with  one  of  the  most  important  discoveries  of  modern 
times — the  application  of  ether  as  an  agent  for  producing  insensibility 
to  pain  in  surgical  operatipns.  His  object,  as  I  understand,  in  visiting 
Washington  at  this  time  is'  to  endeavor  to  procure  from  Congress  some 
recognition  of  the  value  of  his  discovery.  I  beg  leave  to  recommend 
him  to  your  kind  attention. 

"  I  am,  very  respectfully,  your  friend  and  servant, 

"  To  Hon.  Thos.  H.  Benton.  MARCUS  MORTON." 

Letter  from  Mayor  Bigeloio. 

"Boston,  December  9,  1848. 

"Sir:  I  avail  myself  of  the  honor  which  I  had  of  making  your  ac- 
quaintance last  season,  during  your  visit  to  Boston,  to  introduce  to  you 
my  friend,  Dr.  Morton,  the  discoverer  of  the  effect  of  ether  in  producing 
insensibility  to  pain,  a  discovery  which  has  placed  him  in  the  front  rank 
of  the  benefactors  of  the  human  race.  He  visits  Washington  in  the 
hope  of  obtaining  some  recognition  on  the  part  of  Congress  of  the  value 
of  his  discovery,  and  has  already  secured  the  favorable  consideration  of 
some  of  the  members.  Your  assistance  in  the  matter  would  be  in 
keeping  with  your  well  known  and  enlightened  philanthropy,  and  would 
be  gratefully  appreciated. 

"I  have  the  honor  to  be,  very  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 


"  Hon.  Isaac  E.  Holmes." 

The  claim  in  behalf  of  Dr.  Wells  rests  on  his  experiments  with  nitrous 
oxide,  referred  to  by  your  committee  in  the  early  part  of  their  report.  He 
had  the  merit  of  attempting  to  carry  out  practically  the  idea  suggested 
by  Sir  Humphrey  Davy,  of  rendering  by  its  influence  a  patient  insensi- 
ble to  pain  in  a  surgical  operation.  He  has  also  undoubtedly  the  merit 
of  having  contributed  something  in  directing  the  mind  of  Dr.  Morton  to 
the  subject,  and  thus  aided  in  conferring  this  great  boon  upon  mankind. 
Originally  he  did  not  claim  for  himself  the  honor  of  the  discovery,  but 
merely  of  the  attempt,  which  he  admitted  to  have  been  fruitless. 

The  letter  of  Dr.  Morton  announcing  his  discovery  and  the  reply  of 
•Dr.  Wells,  together  with  the  letter  of  R.  H.  Eddy,  dated  February  17, 
1847,  prove  this.  They  are  as  follows;  ' 

„  "  BosTOit,  Ocioher  19,  184G, 

l<Bii2N0  Wells— Der/r  -Sir;  I  write  to  inform  you  that  I  have  dis- 
covered a  preparation,  by  inhaling  which,  a  person  is  thrown  into  sound 
sleep.  The  time  required  to  produce  sleep  is  only  a  few  momeirts,  and 
the  time  in  which  persons  remain  asleep  can  be  regulated  at  pleasure. 
While  in  this  state  the  severest  surgical  or  dental  operations  may  be  per- 
formed, the  patient  not  experiencing  the  slightest  pain.  I  have  perfected 
it,  and  am  now  about  sen-ding  out  agents  to  dispose  of  the  right  to  use  it. 
I  will  dispose  of  a  right  to  an  individual  to  use  it  in  his  own  practice  alone, 
or  for  a  town,  county,  or  State.  My  object  in  writing  you  is  to  know  if 
you  would  not  like  to  visit  New  York  and  the  other  cities,  and  dispose 
of  rights  upon  shares.  I  have  used  the  compound  in  more  than  one 
hundred  and  sixty  cases  in  extracting  teeth,  and  I  have  been  invited  to 
administer  to  patients  in  the  Massachusetts  Genel-al  Hospital,  and  have 
succeeded  in  ever}'^  case. 

"The  Professors,  Warren  and  Hayward,  have  given  me  written  cer- 
tificates to  this  effect.  I  have  administered  it  at  the  Hospital  in  the 
presence  of  the  students  and  physicians — the  room  for  operations  being 
as  full  as  possible.  For  further  particulars  I  will  refer  you  to  extracts 
from  the  daily  journals  of  this  city,  which  I  forward  to  you. 

"Respectfully  yours,  WM.  T.  G.  MORTON." 

"Hartford,  Connecticut,  October  20,  1846. 

"  Dr.  Morton — Dear  Sir  :  Your  letter  dated  yesterday,  is  just  received, 
and  I  hasten  to  answer  it,  for  fear  you  will  adopt  a  method  in  disposing 
of  your  rights,  which  will  defeat  your  object.  Before  you  make  any  ar- 
rangements whatever,  I  wish  to  see  you.  I  think  I  will  be  in  Boston  the 
first  ofnext  week — probably  Monday  night.  If  the  operation  of  admin- 
istering the  gas  is  not  attended  with  too  much  trouble,  and  will  produce 
the  effect  you  state,  it  will,  undoubtedly,  be  a  fortune  to  you,  provided  it 
is  rightly  managed. 

"  Yours,  in  haste,  H.  WELLS." 

"Boston,  February  llth,  1847. 
"R.  H.  Dana,  Esq — Dear  Sir:  In  reply  to  your  note  of  this  morning,  I 
have  to  state  that  about  the  time  I  was  engaged  in  preparing  the  papers 
for  the  procuraJ  of  the  patent,  in  the  United  States,  on  the  discovery  of 
Dr.  Morton,  for  preventing  pain  in  surgical  operations,  by  the  inhalation 
of  the  vapor  of  sulphuric  ether,  I  was  requested  by  Dr.  Morton  to  call  at  his 
office  to  have  an  interview  with  the  late  Dr.  Horace  Wells,  who  was  then 
on  a  visit  to  this  city,  and  who,  Dr.  Morton  thought,  might  be  able  to  ren- 
der him  valuable  advice  and  assistance  in  regard  to  the  mode  of  dispos- 
ing of  privileges  to  use  the  discovery.  Accordingly  I  had  an  interview 
with  Dr.  Wells.  During  such  meeting  we  conversed  fi-eely  on  the  dis- 
covery and  in  relation  to  the  experiments  Dr.  Welts  had  been  witness  to 
in  the  office  of  Dr.  Morton.  The  details  of  our  conversation  I  do  not 
recollect  sufficiently  to  attempt  to  relate  them,  but  the' whole  of  it,  and 
the  manner  of  Dr.  Wells  at  the  time,  led  me,  in  no  respect,  to  any  sus- 
p'icion  that  he  (Dr.  Wells)  had  ever  before  been  aware  of  the  then  dis- 
covered effect  of  ether  in  annulling  pain  during  a  surgical  opei-ution. 
Dr.  Wells  doubted  the  ability  of  Dr.  Morton  to  procure  a  patent,  not  on 
the  ground  that  ke  (Dr.  Morton)  was  not  the  first  and  original  discov- 
erer, but  that  he  (Dr.  Wells)  believed  the  discovery  was  not  a  legal,  sub-  ^ 


lect  for  a  patent.  He  advised  bim,  however,  to  make  application  for 
one  and  to  dispose  of  as  many  licenses  as  he  could  while  such  applica- 
tion mio-ht  be  pending;  in  fact,  to  make  as  much  money  out  of  the  dis- 
covery as  he  could  while  the  excitement  in  regard  to  it  might  last.  I 
must  confess  that  when,  some  time  afterwards,  I  heard  of  the  preten- 
sions of  Dr.  Wells  to  be  considered  the  discoverer  of  the  aforementioned 
effect  of  ether,  I  was  struck  with  great  surprise,  for  his  whole  conversa- 
tion with  me  at  the  time  of  our  interview,  led  me  to  the  belief  that  he 
fully  and  entirely  recognized  the  discovery  to  have  been  made  by  Dr. 
Morton,  or  at  least  partly  by  him  and  partly  by  Dr.  C.  T.  Jackson,  as  I 
then  supposed. 

"  Respectfully  yours, 

"R.  H.  EDDY." 

The  evidence  presented  with  Dr.  Wells'  claim  shows  that  dental  ope- 
rations were  in  several  instances  performed  without  pain  by  Dr.  Wells 
under  the  influence  of  nitrous  oxide,  which  had  been  before  known  in 
some  cases  to  produce  a  total  or  partial  asphyxia.  It  appears  also 
that  the  vapor  of  sulphuric  ether  was  thought  of,  discussed,  and  finally 
rejected  by  him — while  the  total  abandonment  of  the  use  of  nitrous 
oxide,  and  indeed  of  every  other  agent,  shovi^s  that  Dr.  Wells'  expe- 
riments were,  on  the  whole,  unsuccessful.  He  engaged  in  the  search 
and  failed  to  find  the  object  of  his  pursuit.  He  attempted  and  en- 
deavored assiduously  to  carry  out  the  idea  to  practical  results,  but 
was  not  successful.  There  was  great  merit  in  the  effort,  but  it  proved 
a  failure. 

Dr.  Wells,  therefore,  in  the  opinion  of  your  committee,  is  not  entitled 
to  the  honor  of  the  discovery.  He  stopped  half  way  in  the  pursuit.  He 
had  the  great  idea  of  producing  insensil)ility  to  pain,  but  he  did  not  verify 
it  by  successful  experiments.  He  mistook  the  means,  and  he  unfortu-. ■ 
nately  rejected  the  true  anaesthetic  agent  as  dangerous  to  life,  and  there-  ♦ 
fore  did  not  make  the  discovery  and  give  it  to  mankind.  He  did  what 
Dr.  Beddoes,  ISir  Humphrey  Davy,  and  Dr.  Townsend  had  done  about 
the  close  of  the  last  century,  but  nothing  more. 

But  he  had  the  signal  merit  of  reviving  the  investigation,  and,  pro- 
bably, of  hastening  the  discovery.  If  an  idea  connected  with  the  sub- 
ject lay  dormant  in  the  mind  of  any  one,  his  attempt  was  well  calcula- 
ted to  awaken  it  into  life.  When  in  the  fall  of  1844  he  made  his  pub- 
lic attempt,  in  Boston,  to  produce  aucBSthesia  during  a  dental  operation, 
by  the  use  of  nitrous  oxide,  if  Dr.  Jackson  had  indeed  made  and  per- 
fected this  discovery,  and  felt  an  abiding  confidence  in  its  truth,  who  can 
doubt  that  he  would  have  availed  himself  of  that  occasion,  or  have  been 
reminded  by  it,  to  make  tor  himself  another,  at  an  early  day,  of  publicly 
exhibiting  and  testing  the  true  anEcsthetic  agent?* 

The  question  of.  discovery,  which  your  committee  has  thus  endeavor- 
ed to  examine,  was  every  way  proper  to  be  tried  and  settled  by  intelli- 
gent men,  as  ajury  of  the  vicinage,  which  vi'as  proposed  by  Dr.  Morton  and 
refused  by  Dr.  Jackson.  (See  Appendix.)  But  it  was  finally  tried  by  a 
most  appropriate  tribunal— the  Trustees  of  the  Massachusetts  General 
Hospital, at  which  the  first  public  exhibition  ot  this  pain-destroying  power 
was  made,  and  where  its  effects  were  first  witnessed  by  an  admiring  audi- 
ence. The  quest iort  of  discovery  was  tried  before  these  men — trustees 
of  a  scientific  corporation,  to  whom  Dr.  Jackson  was  well  known  as  a 


distinguished  member  of  the  medical  faculty,  and  to  whom  Dr.  Morton, 
prior  to  the  discovery,  and  the  contest  to  which  it  led,  was  known  only 
as  a  young  man  of  energy  and  enterprize.  And  this  Board,  composed 
of  men  whose  names  would  do  honor  to  any  scientific  institution,  pre- 
sently after  the  discovery,  near  the  time  and  at  the  place  where  it  oc- 
curred, gave  by  a  unanimous  voice  its  honor  to  Dr.  Morton.  One  year 
after  they  reviewed  their  decision,  at  the  request  of  Dr.  Jackson,  and 
unanimously  confirmed  it.  In  this  connection  your  committee  deem  it 
proper  to  introduce  a  letter  from  the  honorable  Secretary  of  State: 

"Washington,  December  20,  1851. 

"Dr.  W.  T.  G.  Morton — Dear  Sir:  In  reply  to  your  letter  of  the  17th 
Inst.,  I  would  say  that,  having  been  called  on,  on  a  previous  occasion,  to 
examine  the  question  of  the  discovery  of  the  application  of  ether  in  sur- 
gical operations,  I  then  formed  the  opinion  which  1  have  since  seen  no 
reason  to  change,  that  the  merit  of  that  great  discovery  belonged  to  you, 
and  I  had  supposed  that  the  reports  of  the  Trustees  of  the  Hospital  and 
of  the  Committee  of  the  House  of  Representatives  of  the  United  States, 
were  conclusive  on  this  point. 

"The  gentlemen  connected  with  the  hospital  are  well  known  to  me 
as  of  the  highest  character,  and  they  possessed  at  the  time  of  the  inves- 
tigation, every  facility  for  ascertaining  all  the  facts  in  the  case. 

"The  Committee  of  the  House  were,  I  believe,  unanimous  in  award- 
ing to  you  the  merit  of  having  made  the  first  practical  application  of 
ether,  and  a  majority  by  their  report,  awai-ded  to  you  the  entire  credit 
of  the  discovery. 

"  Very  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 


Before  this  tribunal,  neither  time,  place,  or  circumstance,  permitted 
jDold  and  confident  assertion  to  be  mistaken  for  truth.  With  this  award 
we  think  Dr.  Jackson,  Dr.  Wells,  and  the  scientific  world  should  have 
been  satisfied.  It  is,  in  the  opinion  of  your  committee,  entitled  to  great 
weight.  It  was  the  first,  and  ought  to  have  been  the  only  contest.  Our 
enlightened  system  of  jurisprudence  forbids,  except  under  extraordinar}'- 
circumstances,  a  second  trial  of  questions  of  fact.  It  forbids  it,  as  a  guard 
against  the  danger  incident  to  repeated  investigations,  that  truth  will  be 
overborne  by  artfully  manufactured  evidence. 

Therefore,  even  if  the  evidence  before  your  committee  rendered  the 
question  of  fact  doubtful,  which  it  does  not,  they  would  hesitate  long 
before  they  would  overrule  the  decision  of  the  Trustees  of  the  Massachu- 
setts General  Hospital. 

It  is  also  a  subject  of  much  gratification  to  this  committee,  to  be  able 
to  concur  in  the  opinion  of  the  former  committee  of  the  House,  from 
whose  very  able  report  they  have  extracted  so  largely.  They  did  not, 
however,  feel  themselves  bound  by  either  the  one  or  the  other,  but  gave 
the  subject  for  themselves  a  full  and  careful  consideration.  But  they 
are  the  more  satisfied  with  the  conclusions  to  which  they  have  come, 
because  of  their  concurrence  with  such  high  and  unexceptionable  au- 

Dr.  Jackson  appeals  to  the  Academy  of  Arts  and  Sciences  at  Paris, 
and  claims  that  that  learned  body  has  decided  the  question  of  discovery 
in  his  favor,  by  awarding  him  the  "Monthyon  prize  for  the  greatest 


medical  discovery,"  and  that  their  decision  ought  to  be  taken  as  final  and 

Your  committee,  for  obvious  reasons,  would  at  once  bow  to  the  deci- 
sion of  that  very  learned  society,  (the  centre  and  soul  of  scientific  know- 
ledge in  Europe,)  as  to  the  fact  of  discoverj%  and  that  the  honor  of  the 
discovery  be.longed  to  America,  and  also  as  to  its  merit  and  value  among 
the  discoveries  of  the  age.  But  on  the  question.  Who  was  the  disco- 
verer? their  decision,  if  they  made  one,  is  entitled  to  much  less  weight. 
They  are  remote  from  the  scene — had  no  means  at  an  early  day  of  pos- 
sessing themselves  of  the  evidence — and  we  have  already  seen  how 
the  minds  of  the  members  of  the  Academy  were  pro-occupied  by  Dr. 
Jackson's  sealed  letter  of  November  13,  1846,  and  his  letter  of  Decem- 
ber 1,  directing  the  seal  of  the  former  letter  to  be  broken.  '  The  tempo- 
rary secrecy,  with  the  form  and  circumstance  of  the  disclosure,  together 
with  his  European  reputation  for  science,  were,  in  the  absence  of  any 
conflicting  evidence  or  claim,  well  calculated  to  make  a  first  impression 
in  his  favor. 

But  the  Academy  of  Arts  and  Sciences  at  Paris  did  not,  as  it  appears, 
award  to  Dr.  Jackson  the  honor  of  the  discovery,  either  directly  or  indi- 
rectly, by  awarding  him  "  the  Monthyon  prize  for  the  greatest  medical  dis- 
covery." Your  committee  have  inspected  the  official  awardments,  ex- 
hibited by  the  parties,  and  find  that  the  award  to  Dr.  Jackson  was  "o?ie 
of  the  prizes  of  medicine  and  surgery  of  the  Monthyon  foundation." 
And  M.  Alexander  Vattemare,  in  his  letter  to  Dr.  Morton,  (see  App.,) 
gives  an  extract  from  the  formal  decision  made  by  that  learned  bodj, 
"between  these  two  celebrated  contestants,"  as  follows: 

"Mr.  Jackson  and  Mr.  Morton  were  necessary  to  each  other.  With- 
out the  earnestness,  the  preconceived  idea,  the  courage,  not  to  say  the 
audacity  of  the  latter,  the  fact  observed  by  Mr.  Jackson  might  have  long 
remain  unapplied  ;  and  but  for  the  fact  observed  by  Mr.  Jackson,  the 
idea  of  Mr.  Morton  might  perhaps  have  been  sterile  and  ineffectual ;" 
"  consequently,  (he  proceeds,)  there  has  been  awarded  a  prize  of_tvvo  thou- 
sand five  hundred  francs  to  Mr,  Jackson  for  his  observations  and  expe- 
ments  upon  the  anaesthetic  eff'ects  of  sulphuric  ether  ;  and  another  of  two 
thousand  five  hundred  francs  likewise  to  Mr.  Morton  "  for  having  intro- 
duced the  method  in  surgical  practice  after  the  indications  of  Dr. 

Dr.  Morton  has,  within  a  few  days,  received  the  expression  of  the 
Academy  in  the  more  acceptable  form  of  Iheir  largest  gold  medal. 
The  prize  awarded  to  him,  as  above  stated,  being  of  an  amount  not  ab- 
sorbed-by  the  medal,,  has  been  appropriately  used  in  enclosing  it  in  a 
suitable  golden  frame.  On  the  one  side  of  the  medal,  in  addition  to  the 
name  of  the  institute,  is  a  medallion  head  of  the  Goddess  of  Liberty. 
On'  the  reverse,  surrounded  by  a  wreath  of  laurel  is  engraved — 

"Acaddmie  des  Sciences.    Prix  Montyon — Medicine  et  Chirurgie  

Concours  de  1847  et  1848.    Wm.  T.  G.  Morton,  1850." 

Upon  a  full  examination  of  the  whole  case  so  far  as  time  and  means 
were  afforded  to  your  committee,  they  have  come  to  the  conclusion  

1st.  That  Dr.  Horace  Wells  did  not  make  any  discovery  of  the  anes- 
thetic properties  of  the  vapor  of  sulphuric  ether,  which  he  himself  con- 
sidered reliable,  and  which  he  thought  proper  to  give  to  the  world.  That 


his  experiments  were  confined  to  nitrous  oxide,  but  did  not  sliow  it  to 
be  an  efficient  and  relial)le  anaesthetic  agent,  proper  to  be  used  in  sur- 
gical operations  and  in  obsterical  cases. 

For  the  rest  your  Committee  have  come  to  the  same  conclusions  that 
were  arrived  at  by  the  Trustees  of  the  Massachusetts  General  Hospital 
at  their  meeting  in  January,  1848,  and  reconsidered  and  confirmed  in 
1849,  and  adopted  by  the  former  Committee  of  the  House,  viz : 

2nd.  That  Dr.  Jackson  does  not  ap-pear  at  any  time  lo  have  juude  any 
discovery,  in  regard  to  ether,  which  was  not  in  print  in  Great  Britain 
some  years  before. 

3d.  That  Br.  Morton,  in  1846,  discovered  the  facts,  before  unknown, 
that  ether  would  prevent  the  pain  of  surgical  operations ;  and  that  it  might 
be  given  in  sufficient  qu'mti'y  to  effect  this  purpose,  without  danger  to 
life.  He  first  established  these  facts  by  numerous  operation.^  on  teeth,  and 
afterwards  induced  the  surgeons  of  the  hospital  to  demonstrate  its  general 
applicability  and  importance  in  capital  operations. 

4th.  That  Dr.  Jackson  appears  lo  have  had  the  belief  that  a.  power  in  ether 
to  prevent  pain  in  dental  operations  would  be  discovered.  He  advised  va- 
rious persons  to  attempt  the  discovery.  But  neither  they  nor  he  look  any 
measures  to  that  end ;  and  the  world  remained  in  entire  ignorance  of  both 
the  power  and  safety  of  ether,  until  Dr.  Morton  made  his  experiments. 

^th.  That  the  whole  agency  of  Dr.  Jackson  in  the  matter  appears  to 
consist  only  in  his  having  made  certain  suggestions,  which  aided  Dr. 
Morton  to  make  the  discovery — a  discovery  which  had  for  some  time  been 
the  object  of  his  labors  and  researches. 

Though  it  was  but  "a  single  step,  and  that  a  short  one,"  from  the 
daily  walks  of  science  to  this  great  discovery,  yet  the  scientific  world 
admits  that  the  step  was  never  taken  prior  to  the  30th  of  September, 
1846:  and  the  discovery,  when  in  fact  made,  was  instantly  appreciated 
and  hailed  by  the  surgical  profession  with  the  most  exalted  enthusiasm, 
almost  with  shouts  of  rapture.  In  a  letter  written  fresh  on  ibe  verifica- 
tion of  the  discovery  in  England,  the  grave  and  sedate  Listen  says: 

.    "  Hurrah  ! 

"Rejoice!  Mesmerism,  and  its  professors  have  met  with  a  'heavy 
blow,  and  great  discouragement.'  An  American  dentist  has  used  ether, 
(inhalation  of  it)  to  destroy  sensation  in  his  operations,  and  the  plan  has 
succeeded  in  the  hands  of  Warren,  Hayward,  and  others,  in  Boston. 
Yesterday,  I  amputated  a  thigh,  and  removed  by  revulsion,  both  sides  of 
the  great  toe  nail,  without  the  patient's  being  aware  of  what  was  doing, 
so  far  as  regards  pain.  The  amputation-man  heard,  he  says,  what  we 
said,  and  was  conscious,  but  felt  neither  the  pain  of  the  incisions,  nor 
that  of  tying  the  vessels.  In  short,  he  had  no  sensation  of  pain  in  the 
operating  theatre.  I  mean  to  use  it  to-day,  in  a  case  of  stone.  In  six 
months  no  operation  will  be  performed  without  this  previous  prepara- 
tion.* It  must  be  carefully  set  about.  The  ether  must  be  washed,  and 
purified  of  its  sulphureous  acid  and  alcohol.  Shall  I  desire  Squire,  a 
most  capital  and  ingenious  chemist,  to  send  yon  a  tool  for  the  purpose? 
It  is  only  the  bottom  of  Nooth's  apparatus,  with  a  sort  of  funnel  above, 
with  bits  of  sponge,  and,  at  the  other  hole,  a  flexible  tube.    Rejoice  ! 

"Thine  always,  R.  L." 

*  Of  course,  this  is  not  to  be  considered  as  Mr.  Liston's  deliberate  opinion;  but  just  tlie  first  flash 
of  enthusiasm,  at  once  natural  and  becoming,  in  the  circumstances. 


Mr.  Velpeau,  one  of  the  most  eminent  surgeons  of  Paris,  in  his  trea- 
tise on  medical  operations  in  1839,  says  : 

"To  avoid  pain  in  surgical  operations  is  a  chimera  which  it  is  not  al- 
lowable to  pursue  at  the  present  day.  The  cutting  instrument  and 
pain  in  operative  medicine,  are  two  words  which  never  present  them- 
selves singly  to  the  mind  of  the  patient,  and  of  which  we  must  necessa- 
rily admit  the  association." 

But  in  a  communication  to  the  Acadehiy  of  Arts  and  Sciences  at  Paris, 
on  the  27lh  of  January,  1847,  he  speaks  thus : 

"I  desire  that  the  question  of  priority  be  immediately  laid  aside;  it 
does  not  appear,  in  effect,  to  have  any  foundation.  To  say  that  some 
one  has  stupefied,  or  put  to  sleep  some  dogs  or  hens,  is  nothing  to  the 
purpose ;  for  this  action  of  ether  has  been  known  fifteen,  twenty,  thirty 
years  and  more.  The  Dictionaries  of  Medicine,  Treatises  on  Medical 
jurisprudence — that  of  M.  Orfila,  and  the  toxology  of  the  last  author 
in  particular — indicate  it  formally.  That  which  is  new,  is  the  proposi- 
tion to  render  the  patient  totally  insensible  to  pain,  under  a  surgical  ope- 
ration, by  means  of  inspirations  of  ether." 

And  the  venerable  and  sage  Dr.  Warren,  in  his  work  on  etherization, 
speaks  in -the  following  impressive  and  exalted  strain: 

"A  new  era  has  opened  to  the  operating  surgeon  !  His  visitations  on 
the  most  delicate  parts  are  performed,  not  only  without  the  agonizing 
screams  he  has  been  accustomed  to  hear,  but  sometimes  with  a  state  of 
perfect  insensibility,  and  occasionally  even  with  the  expression  of  plea- 
sure on  the  part  of  the  patient.  Who  could  have  imagined  that  draw- 
ing the  knife  over  the  delicate  skin  of  the  face  might  produce  a  sensa- 
tion of  unmixed  delight !  that  the  turning  and  twisting  of  instruments  in 
the  most  sensitive  bladder  might  be  accompanied  by  a  beautiful  dream  ! 
that  the  contorting  of  anchylosed  jteints  should  co-exist  with  a  celestial 
vision  !  If  Ambrose  Par(§,  and  Louis,  and  Dessault,  and  Chesselden, 
and  Hunter,  and  Cooper,  could  see  what  our  eyes  daily  witness,  how 
would  they  long  to  come  among  us,  and  perform  their  exploits  once 
more  !  And  with  what  fresh  vigor  does  the  living  surgeon,  who  is  ready- 
to  resign  the  scalpel,  grasp  it,  and  wish  again  to  go  through  his  career 
under  the  new  auspices  !" 

The  question  of  who  was  the  discoverer,  being  thus,  as  the  committee 
trust,  placed  beyond  dispute,  they  turn  their  attention  next  to  the  value 
of  the  discovery. 

It  supplies  a  desideratum  long  sought  by  surgeons,  for  the  relief  of  the 
excruciating  pain  they  were  necessarily  obliged  to  inflict  in  the  practice 
of_ their  profession.  They  had,  as  heretofore  stated,  vainly  attempted 
this  relief  by  the  use  of  opiates,  extract  of  hemp,  mesmerism,  &c.;  but 
none  fulfilled  the  desired  purpose;  and  their  suggestion  of  the  necessity 
to  life  or  limb  of  an  operation,  was  apparently  ever  doomed  to  be  ac- 
conripanied  with  the,  to  many,  all  absorbing  feeling  of  terror  of  the  pain 
which  there  was  no  known  means  of  avoiding.  Dread  of  pain  has  not 
unfrequently  deterred  from  submission  to  operations  necessary  to  the  pre- 
servation of  life.  In  other  cases  where  this  dread  was  overcome,  and 
the  operation  performed,  the  severity  of  the  suffering,  and  the  shock  to 
the  system  have  been  large  elements  in  the  production  of  a  fatal  result. 



Since  the  introduction  of  etherizntion,  both  the  patient  and  surgeon  ap- 
proach the  operation  with  feelings  entirely  different  from  those  for- 
merly entertained  under  similar  circumstances.  The  latter  is  relieved 
from  the  necessity  of  witnessing  those  manifestations  of  pain  which  his 
instruments  formerly  produced,  and  to  become  indifferent  to  which 
he  must  be  more  or  less  than  human  ;  while  the  former  looks  only  to  the 
end  to  be  attained — the  restoration  to  health — there  being  no  interme- 
diate pain  to  excite  his  dread,  and  fix  his  exclusive  attention.  For 
screaming,  and  struggles,  and  intense  suffering  under  the  surgeon's 
knife,  etherization  has  svibstituted  more  or  less  complete  exemption  fi-om 
pain,  associated  in  some  with  the  quietude,  mental  and  corporeal,  of 
deep  sleep  ;  in  others,  with  pleasing  dreams,  imaginary  busy  scenes,  and 
sweet  music  ;  and  in  others,  with  a  perfect  consciousness  of  surround- 
ing objects  and  events,  making  the  patient,  perhaps,  not  among  the  least 
calm  or  most  anxious  spectators  of  the  operation. 

And  its  benefits  are  by  no  means  confined  to  surgical  patients  and 
surgical  practice.  The  obstetrician  finds  in  it  the  means  of  alleviating 
that  distress  with  which  woman  has  ever  heretofore  been  cursed,  when 
in  the  act  of  becoming  a  mother.  And  who  would  not  hail  with  delight, 
any  means  of  ministering  comfort  to  her  who  bears  the  hoi}'  name  of 
mother?  To  the  physician  it  affords  one  of  the  most  useful,  as  it  is  one 
of  his  most  prompt  remedies.  He,  too,  is  often  compelled  to  be  the  spec- 
tator of  severe  pain  and  distress,  for  the  alleviation  of  which  his  before 
known  remedies  were  powerless.  He,  before,  had  no  reliable  means  of 
relieving  the  spasms  of  tetanus  ;  he  not  unfrequently  failed  to  procure 
sleep  in  delirium  tremens,  when  the  question  is  one  of  sleep  or  death;  his 
before  palliative  remedy  (opium)  for  the  pain  of  colic,  too  often  purchas- 
ed temporary  relief  at  the  expense  of  an  aggravation  of  the  cause  of  the 
disease,  and  of  increased  difficulties  in  its  cure  ;  and  he  occasionally  wit- 
nessed the  breaking  up  of  the  system  of  a  neuralgic  patient,  more  as  a 
consequence  of  the  repeated  large  <foses  of  opium  to  which  he  was  con- 
strained to  resort  for  the  mitigation  of  his  paroxysms,  during  the  slow 
progress  of  curative  remedies,  than  of  the  disease  itself.  But  an  enu- 
meration of  all,  or  of  any  considerable  number  of  the  cases  in  which  he 
finds  it:  useful,  nay  indispensable,  is  neither  required,  nor  would  it  be 
proper  in  a  paper  of  this  character. 

It  is  no  answer  to  this  to  allege  that  the  discovery  is  capable  of  injury, 
or  mischief.  Ignorance  of  the  proper  use  of  anything  leads  to  its  abuse  ; 
and  what  is  not  abused,  the  use  of  which  depends  upon  human  judgment? 
Being  of  indispensable  value  to  all,  as  all  are  liable  to  require  its  use, 
the  committee  deem  the  .discoverer  entitled  to  reward,  as  a  benefactor  of 
the  human  race.  But  his  application  rests  not  solely  on  that  ground. 
The  discovery  is  used  by  the  United  States  Government,  in  the  army  and 
navy,  and  for  that  use  the  Government  is  clearly  bound  to  compensate 
him ;  especially  as  they  secured  to  him  the  use  of  the  discovery  by 
letters  patent.  Dr.  Jackson  having  first  assigned  his  claim  to  Dr.  Mor- 
ton. The  committee  have  thought  proper  to  annex  the  following  ex- 
tracts from  the  records  of  the  Patent  Office  : 

"  I  have  therefore,  in  consideration  of  one  dollar,  to  me  in  hand  paid,  the 
receipt  whereof  I  do  hereby  acknowledge,  asssigned,  set  over  and  con- 


veyed,  and  by  these  presents  do  assign,  set  over  and  convey  to  the  said 
Morton  and  his  legal  representatives,  all  the  right,  title  and  interest 
whatever  which  I  possessed  in  the  said  invention  or  discovery,  a  speci- 
cation  of  which  I  have  this  day  signed  and  executed  in  conjunction  with 
him,  for  the  purpose  of  enabling  him  to  procure  a  patent  thereon. 

"  And  I  do  hereby  request  the  Commissioner  of  Patents  to  issue  the 
said  patent  to  the  said  Morton  in  his  name  and  as  my  a.ssignee  or  legal 
representative  to  the  extent  of  all  my  right,  title  and  interest  whatever 
in  the  said  invention  or  discovery. 

"  In  testimony  whereof  I  have  hereto  set  my  signature  and  affixed  my 
seal,  this  twenty-seventh  day  of  October,  one  thousand  eight  hundred 
and  forty-six. 


"  (Witness  :)    R.  H.  Eddy." 

"  United  States  Patent  Office. 

"Received  this  10th  day  of  November,  1846,  and  recorded  in  liber  F 
1,  page  118,  of  Transfers  ot  Patent  Rights. 

"  In  testimony  whereof,  I  have  caused  the  seal  of  the  Patent  Office  to 
be  hereunto  affixed. 


"  Commissioner  of  Patents." 

No.  4,848. 

The 'United  States  of  America. 

To  all  to  wJiom  these  letters  -patent  shall  come : 

"These  are  therefore  to  grant,  according  to  law,  the  said  Wm.  T.  G. 
Morton,  his  heirs,  administrators,  or  assigns,  for  the  term  of  fourteen 
years  from  the  12th  day  of  November,  1846,  the  full  and  exclusive  right 
and  liberty  of  making,  constructing,  using,  and  vending  to  others  to  be 
used,  the  said  improvement." 

Numerous  instances  have  occurred,  to  which  your  committee  beg 
leave  to  refer,  in  which  compensation  in  money  has  been  made  by  Con- 
gress, as  a  reward  for  like  discoveries,  of  less  importance  to  the  country 
and  mankind,  namely : 


Tucker  and  Judge. — For  the  construction  of  anchors  for  the  Navy, 
Statutes  at  Large,  vol.  6,  page  659,  $1,500. 

Daniel  Pettibone. — For  the  use  of  circular  bullet  moulds,  Statutes  at 
Large,  vol.  6,  page  833,  85,000. 

Boyd  Reilly. — For  the  use  of  gas  in  vapor  baths.  Statutes  at  Large, 
vol.  6,  page  904,  $5,000. 

William  H.  Bell. — For  elevating  heavy  cannon,  and  for  pointing  the 
same.  Statutes  at  Large,  vol.  5,  page  126,  $20,000. 

Isaac  Babbit. — For  the  right  of  use  of  the  patent  anti-antrition  metal, 
Statutes  at  Large,  vol.  5,  pages  547  and  036,  $20,000. 

Heirs  of  Robert  Fulton. — For  the  benefits  conferred  upon  the  country 
by  his  improvements  in  navigation  by  steam,  Statutes  at  Large,  vol.  9, 
page  660,  $76,300. 


Anne  M.  T.  Mix,  widow  of  M.  P.  Mix.— For  the  purchase  of  Mix's 
manger  stopper,  Statutes  at  Large,  vol.  9,  page  82,  83,000. 

Doctor  Locke. — For  the  free  use  by  the  United  States  of  his  invention 
of  the  magnetic  clock.  Statutes  at  Large,  vol.  9,  page  374,  $10,000. 

R.  S.  McCuUoh  and  .Tames  C.  Boothe. — To  purchase  the  right  to  use 
the  improved  methods  of  refining  argentiferous  gold  bullion.  Statutes  at 
Large,  vol.  9,  page  530,  $25,000. 


Samuel  Colt. — Submarine  battery,  Statutes  at  Large,  vol.  5,  page  584  ■ 

Sarah  F.  Mather. — Submarine  telescope,  Statutes  at  Large,  vol.  5, 
page  067,  82,000. 

S.  F.  B.  Morse. — Electro  magnetic-telegraph,  Statutes  at  Large,  vol. 
5,  page  618,  $30,000. 

For  testing  inventions  for  preventing  explosion  of  steam  boilers,  Sta- 
tutes at  Large,  vol.  5,  page  793,  $5,000. 

 Earle. — For  the  preservation  of  canvass.  Statutes  at  Large, 

vol.  9,  page  170,  $5,000. 

Uriah  Brown.— For  testing  steam  fire  ships,  and  shot  proof  steamships. 
Statutes  at  Large,  vol.  9.  page  173,  $10,000. 

James  Crutchett. — For  testing  solar  gas  lights  and  erecting  fixtures. 
Statutes  at  Large,  vol.  9,  page  207,  $17,500. 

 Isherwood. — For  testing  light  for  lighthouses,  Statutes  at 

Large,  vol.  9,  page  323,  $6,000. 

Charles  G.  Page. — To  test  the  capacity  apd  usefulness  of  electro-mag- 
netic power  for  the  purposes  of  navigation  and  locomotion.  Statutes  at 
Large,  vol.  9,  page  375,  $20,000. 

'  Though  fully  satisfied  of  the  value  of  the  discovery,  the  committee 
thought  it  not  proper  to  act  upon  their  own  unaided  opinions.  The  chair- 
man addressed  circulars  to  the  different  hospitals,  to  medical  institutions, 
to- many  of  the  most  eminent  phj'sicians  and  surgeons  in  the  United 
States,  (see  appendix,)  and  to  the  surgeons  of  the  army  and  nav}-.  The 
answers  to  these  are  very  numerous;  too  much  so,  and  too  lengthy  for 
publication,  but  have  been  perused,  and  their  contents  carefuU}'^  noticed 
by  the  committee.  Only  two  of  this  mass  of  letters  speak  disparagingly 
of  the  discovery,  and  one  of  those  does  not  profess  to  speak  from  the 
writer's  own  observation.  The  committee  annex  extracts  (see  appendix.) 
from  some  of  these  answers,  and  a  few  entire  letters,  exhibiting  the  gene- 
ral opinion  of  the  value  of  the  discovery — its  value  being  indisputable, 
and  almost  universally  acknowledged,  it  was  not  deemed  necessary  to 
multiply  extracts  in  its  proof — and  exhibiting  likewise,  the  use  of  the  dis- 
covery in  the  army  and  navy. 

The  committee  would  likewise  call  particular  attention  to  the  follow- 
ing letters  from  the  Surgeon  General  and  Staff,  and  the  Chief  of  the 
Bureau  of  Medicine  and  Surgery  and  Assistant,  addressed  to  Dr.  Mor- 
ton, and  which  were  laid  before  the  committee : 

"Surgeon  General's  Office,  March  1,  1852. 
"Sir:  In  compliance  with  your  verbal  request  to  be  furnished  with  in- 
formation in  regard  to  the  employment  of  anaesthetic  agents  in  the  army 



of  the  United  States,  and  also  for  an  expression  of  opinion  as  to  the 
value  and  importance  of  this  class  of  remedial  agents,  I  have  to  state : 

"That  sulphuric  ether  and  chloroform  were  used  to  some  extent  in  the 
military  hospitals  established  at  the  theatre  of  war  in  Mexico,  but  the 
use  of  those  articles  was  not  so  general  as  at  present,  for  the  reason  that 
the  apparatus  at  that  .time  believed  to  be  essential  to  their  and 
safe  administration,  was  not  adapted  to  service  in  the  field. 

"At  the  present  moment  it  is  believed  that  no  surgical  operation  of  im- 
portance is  performed  by  the  medical  officers  of  the  army  without  the 
aid  of  some  anaesthetic  agent. 

"Previous  to  the  discovery  of  this  new  application  of  sulphuric  ether, 
the  annual  supply  of  that  medicine  was  one  pound  for  every  hundred 
men.  Qn  the  revision  of  the  standard  supply  table,  by  a  board  of  medi- 
cal officers,  in  1849,  the  pure  washed  sulphuric  ether,  was  substitiited 
for  the  ordinary  sulphuric  ether,  and  tire  quantity  allowed  was  increased 
one  hundred  per  cent.  .  At  the  same  time  another  aneesthetic  agent,  the 
tincture  of  chloroform,  commonly  called  chloric  ether,  was  added  to  the 
supply  table,  and  is  now  regularly  furnished  to  the  medical  officers  in 
such  quantities  as,  in.connexion  with  the  sulphuric'ether;  will  saffice-  to 
meet  all  the  demands  of  the  service  in  this  particular. 

"Although  the  discovery  of  this  new  therapeutic  effect  of  sulphuric 
ether  has  led  to  the  introduction  and  employment  of  other- anaesthetic 
agents,  this  does  not  in  any  way  militate  against  the  merits  of  the  ori- 
ginal discovery,  which  I  regard  as  one  of  the  most  important  and  valu- 
able contributions  to  medical  science,  and  to  the  relief  of  ■suffering  hu- 
.manity,  which  has  ever  been  made,  the  only  discovery  to  be  compared 
therewith  being  that  of  vaccination,  which  has  rendered  the  name  of 
Jenner  immortal. 

"Through  the  influence  of  these  remedial  agents,  the  surgeon  is  not  • 
only  enabled  to  perform  the  most  extensive  and  difficult  operations,  un- 
disturbed by  the  cries  and' struggles  of ^  the  patient,  but  what  is  of  far 
greater  impt)rtance,  the  patient  being  rendered  insensible,  escapes  that 
shock  to  the  nervous  system,  which"  in  itself  is  not  un frequently  fatal. 
For  this  reason  operations  can  now  be  performed  with  much  more  safety 
than  heretofore,  and  that  too,  in  cases  in  which  the  attempt  to  perform 
them  would  have  been  forbidden  by  the  general  condition  of  the  patient. 

"To  the  ph3rsician  this  class  of  remedial  agents  promises  to  be  of  the 
greatest  utility,  though  their  application  in  the  treatment  of  disease  has 
yet  to  be  more  fully  developed. 

"It  will  suffice  at  this  time  to  allude  to  their  employment  for  the  relief 
of  suffering  woman  in  the  hour  of  her  greatest  trial,  and  ait  thte  moment 
she  claims  our  warmest  sympathies.  That  these  agents  can  be  safely 
used  in  parturition,  so  as  to  affiard  full  and  entire  exemption  from  pain 
to  the  mother,  and  with  safety  both  to  her  and  to  the  child,  has  been 
amply  demonstrated. 

"In  conclusion,  permit  me  to  congratulate  you  upon  the  flattering  tes- 
timonial you  have  received  from  the  National  Institute  of  France,  for 
this  discovery,  and  to  express  the  hope,  that  inasmuch  as  it  is  impossible 
for  you  to  derive  any  pecuniary  benefit  therefrom  in  ordinary  course  by 
letters  patent,  you  may  receive  from  your  country  that  acknowledgment  of 


your  merit,  which  is  due  to  one  who  has  conferred  so  great  a  boon  upon 

I  am  very  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 
W.  T.  G:  Morton,  M.  :D.,  TH.  LAWSON, 

Brown's  Hotel,  Washington,  D.  C.  Surgeon  General. 

"Surgeon  General's  Office,  March  10, 1852. 

"  Sir  :  The  undersigned' take  pleasure  in  adding  their  testimony  to  the 
mass  of  evidence  you  have  already  accumulated  in  regard  to  the  value 
and  importance  of  the  discovery  of  the  anaesthetic  properties  of  sulphuric 
ether,  and  the  consequent  intt-oduetion  of  a  new  class  of  remedial  agents 
into  the  practice  of  medicine  and  surgery. 

"The  more  general  and  important  advantages  which  surgeons  and 
physicians,  as, well  as  patients,  have  derived  frorh  this  great  discovery, 
are  so  fully  yet  concisely  set  forth  in  the  communication  addressed  to 
you  a  few  days  since  by  the  Surgeon  General,  as  to  need  no  repetition 
here,  and  we  therefore  prefer  alluding'to  an  application  of  this  class  of 
remedial  agents;  which,  so  far  as  we  have  seen,  has  not  been  mentioned 
by  your  correspondents. 

"  We  refer  to  their  employment  in  the  arm)''  and  navj'  for  the  detection 
of  feigned  diseases.  The  consummate  art  ofttimes  displayed  bj'  malin- 
gerers who  are  desirous  of  procuring  their  discharges  from  the  service, 
or  to  escape  unpleasant  duty,  is  such  as  not  unfrequently  to  baffle  the 
skill  of  the  most  experienced  medical  officers.  It  is  not  enough  in 
these  cases  to  suspect  that  disease  is  feigned — humanity  requires  that 
the  fact  of  malingering  he  proved,  before  the  kind  offices  of  the  physi- 
cian are  refused.  In  many  instances  the  use  of  anaesthetic  agents  will 
afford  this  positive  proof,  and  although  we  do  not  recommend  or  advo- 
cate their  employment  for  this  purpose  as  a  general  rule,  we  neverthe- 
less believe  that  in  some  cases  it  is  the  duty  of  the  medical  officer  to 
resort  to  them,  to  satisfy  his  doubts. 

"In  illustration  of  the  foregoing  remarks,  we  refer  you  to  the  enclosed 
copies  of  proceedings  instituted  in  this  office  in  January,  1849,  in  the 
case  of  Charles  Lanke,  formerly  a  private  of  artillerj',  who  applied  for 
a  pension  on  account  of  alleged  anchylosis  of  the  knee  joint,  and  to 
whom  the  sulphuric  ether  was  administered  by  yourself,  in  the  presence 
of  Dr.  Edwards,  of  Ohio,  and  several  other  members  of  Congress. 

"  Very  respectfullv,  your  obedient  servant, 


Surgeon  U.  S.  Army. 

"  Ass't  Surgeon  U.  S.  Army. 

"  W.  T.  G.  Morton,  M.  D., 

"  Brown's  Hotel,  Washington,  D.  C" 

"  Surgeon  General's  Office,  January  22,  1 849. 

"Sir:  I  have  the  honor  to  acknowledge  the  receipt  of  your  letter  of 
the  18th  instant,  by  the  hands  of  Charles  Lanke,  formerly  a  soldier  in 
the  army,  who  has  been  charged  with  malingering." 

"  In  accordance  with  your  desire,  I  caused  a  careful  examination  to 
be  made  by  two  medical  officers  of  the  army,  whose  report  is  here- 
with enclosed. 

86  « 

"  As  the  most  reliable  means  of  ascertaining  the  true  condition  of 
this  man's  limb,  these  gentlemen  endeavored  to  place  him  in  a  state  of 
insensibiliti/,  by  the  inhalation  of  washed  sulphuric  ether.  The  cause  of 
their  failure  in  rendering  him  insensible-,  is  explained  in  their  report; 
and  I  may  also  add,  that  during  the  short  time  I  was  called  to  be  present, 
I  had  good  reason  to  think  that  the  man  strongly  resisted  the  efforts  of 
the  two  medical  gentlemen  to  render  him  insensible. 

"  Lanke  has  again  been  here  this  morning  with  an  interpreter,  and 
has  had  explained  to  him  that  whenever  he  shall  consent  to  be  rendered 
insensible,  and  it  is  found  that  his  knee  joint  still  remains  immovable, 
he  shall  have  the  benefit  of  a  certificate  to  that  effect. 

"Very  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 
"By  order:  .  H.  L.  HEISKELL, 

"  Surgeon  U.  S.  Army. 

"  Hon.  Charles  Brown,  House  of  Reps.'''' 

"Surgeon  'General's  Office,  January  20,  1849. 
"Sir:  In  compliance  with  your  instructions  we  have  made  a  careful 
examination  of  the  alleged  disability  of  Charles  Lanke,  formerly  a  pri- 
vate of  Captain  Sherman's  company  of  3d  artillery,  and  beg  leave  to 
report : 

"  That  we  can  find  no  mark  of  severe  injury  received  on  his  knee,  no 
deep  cicatrix  of  the  integuments,  and  no  scarification,  &c.,  such  as  would 
have  been  made  in  the  course  of  treatment  for  an  inflammation  of  the 

"  We  can  find  no  evidences  of  any  injury  to  the  bones,  and  express  our 
doubt  whether  a  simple  contusion  would  have  caused  such  a  permanent 
stiffness  of  the  joint. 

"As  the  only  means  at  our  disposal  to  test  the  question  of  malingering, 
we  endeavored  to  place  him  under  the  influence  of  the  washed  sulphuric 
ether,  in  order  to  create  insensibility  to  our  manipulations. 

"This  we  were  unable  to  do,  the  patient  evidently  resisting  by  hold- 
ing his  breath,  &c.,  and  when  apparently  about  to  fall  under  its  influ- 
ence, refusing  to  breathe  it  at  all,  by  pushing  the  assistant  from  him, 
when  about  to  add  an  additional  supply  of  ether. 

"  We  feel  fully  persjuaded  that  the  patient  did  use  considerable  mus- 
cular force  and  an  evident  eflbrt  of  will  to  resist  the  bending  of  the  limb, 
in  the  course  of  the  experiment. 

"  As  the  result  of  our  examination  we  would  respectfully  submit  the 
following  opinion,  that  we  do  not  think  that  we  should  be  justified  in 
giving  a  certificate  of  disability  to  Charles  Lanke ;  but  still  there  being 
a  bare  possibility  that  injustice  may  be  done  the  man,  we  are  willing  to 
repeat  the  trial  by  ether,  which  is  truly  an  "  oxperimentum  crucis," 
whenever  the  applicant  lor  pension  shall  state  his  readiness  (o  submit. 

"R.  H.  CqOLlDGE. 

"  Assist.  Surgeon  U.  S.  Army, 
"  Assist.  Surgeon  U.  S.  Army. 

"Dr.  H.  L.  Heiskell,  Surgeon  U.  S,  Army" 


"Surgeon  General's  Office,  January  26,  1849. 

"Sm :  1  hfive  the  honor  to  inform  you  that  Charles  Lanke,  having  ex- 
pressed his  willingness  to  be  rendtired  insensible  by  ether,  that  article 
was  this  day  administered  to  him  by  Dr.  Morton,  of  Massachusetts,  in 
the  presence  of  Dr.  Edwards,  and  a  number  of  other  members  of  Con- 
gress and  medical  gentlemen. 

"  Having  come  fully  under  its  influence,  the  limb  was  completely 
flexed  without  force,  proving  conclusively  that  the  stifl'ness  of  the  knee- 
joint  was  altogether  feigned. 

"From  the  mingled  distress  and  surprise  exhil)ited  by  Lanke  on  re- 
covering his  consciousness,  at  seeing  his  leg  bent  at  a  right  angle  with 
the  thigh,  it  was  apparent  that  the  sudden  recovery  of  the  motion  of 
his  knee-joint  was  anything  else  than  welcome. 

"Very  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 

"By  order:  H.  L.  HEISKELL, 

"  8urgeon  U.  S.  Army. 

"  Hon.  Chs.  BroWn,  House  of  Reps."  . 

"  Surgeon  General's  Office,  February  21th,  1852. 

"  Sir  :  It  affords  me  pleasure  to  bear  testimony  to  the  high  value  of 
anaesthetic  agents,  both  in  the  practice  of  surgery  and  medicine. 

"I  consider  it  the  greatest  improvement  of  the  century.  It  is  now  an 
indispensable  agent  in  the  alleviation  of  pain  during  surgical  operations, 
and  in  the  amelioration  of  many  distressing  symptoms  and  diseases  of  daily 
occurrence.  Its  many  uses  are  only  beginning  to  be  appreciated  by  the 
medical  profession,  and  it  is  impossible  to  say  what  limits  may  be  placed 
to  its  employment.  Too  much  cannot  be  said  in  praise  of  this  class  of 
remedial  agents. 

"Very  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 


"  Assistant  Surgeon  U.  S.  Army. 

"  Dr.  W.  T.  G.  Morton." 

"Navy  Department,  Bureau  op  Medicine  and  Surgerv, 

"  February  26,  1852, 

"  Sir  :  As  the  views  of  this  bureau  are  desired  in  regard  to  the  import- 
ance attached  to  the  different  ancESthetic  agents  by  the  medical  officers 
of  the  navy,  it  gives  me  pleasure  to  expre-s  the  high  sense  entertained 
by  them  of  their  great  utility,  not  only  in  surgical  practice,  but  as  pow- 
erful ao-ents  in  many  painful  affections,  which  have  resisted  the  ordinary 
remedies.  This  opinion  is  strengthened  by  the  concurrent  testimony  of 
the  ablest  civil  practioners  of  our  own  country,  with  the  emphatic  en- 
dorsement of  their  value,  by  the  best  British  and  continental  surgeons. 
In  the  absence  of  statistical  information,  accurately  made  up,  it  is  some- 
what difficult  to  estimate  the  relative  value  of  these  ethcrial  prepara- 
tions;  but  if  the  recorded  opinions  of  professional  men.  as  expressed  in 
the  various  medical  journals  of  this  country  and  Europe,  are  deemed  of 
any  weight,  the  discovery  of  etherization  as  a  means  of  avoiding  pain  in 


severe  surgical  operations,  may  be  considered  the  most  important,  in  a 
philanthropic  view,  which  this  century  has  produced. 

"The  observation  that  exhilirating  efiects  resulted  IVom  the  inhala- 
tion of  ether  is  no  recent  acquisition  to  medical  science  ;  but  the  novelty 
and  gist  of  this  discovery  consists  in  finding  that  nervous  perception  is 
suspended  under  the  influence  of  the  etherial  inhalation,  and  while  so 
suspended,  the  patient  is  unconscious  of  pain  while  under  the  operation 
of  the  knife. 

"  In  addition  to  the  great  benefit  derived  from  its  use  in  alleviating 
pain,  it  has  a  decided  effect  in  dimini.shing  mortality.  Its  advantage  in 
this  respect  appears  to  be  in  saving  the  system  from  the  severe  shock 
and  nerv6us  exhaustion  which  attend  most  of  the  graver  surgical  opera- 
tions, and  which  of  themselves  often  prove  fatal. 

"It  dispels  the  fear  of  pain,  which  formerly  prevented  many  from  sub- 
mitting to  an  operation,  or  induced  them  to  defer  it  until  too  late. 

"It  enables  the  surgeon,  also,  to  operate  more  coolly  and  efi^ectually, 
undisturbed  by  the  cries  and  struggles  of  the  patient,  which  sometimes 
unnerve  the  steadiest  hand,  and  render  abortive  the  best  directed  ellorts. 

"  The  medal  of  the  first  class,  awarded  to  you  by  the  '  Medical  Insti- 
tute' of  Paris,  evinces  the  high  estimation  entertained  in  that  centre  of 
medical  science  and  intelligence,  of  the  services  you  have  rendered  to 

"It  is  earnestly  hoped  that  our  Government,  with  a  similar  apprecia- 
tion of  this  great  acquisition  to  medical  science,  will  stamp  their  sense 
of  its  importance,  by  a  substantial  acknowledgment  which,  while  it  en- 
courages the  philanthropist  in  his  eflbrts  to  meliorate  the  condition  of 
his  fellow  men,  will  remunerate  you  in  some  measure  for  the  toil  and 
vexation  attendant  on  your  struggle  for  success. 

"  Respectfully  your  obedient  servant, 

"  Chief  of  the  Bureau  of  Medicine  and  Surgery, 
Mr.  Wm.  T.  G.  Morton,  M.  D.,  Washington. 

"Navy  Department,  Bureau  of  Medicine  and  Suegerv, 

"March  1 1,  1852. 


"I  would  state,  however,  that  in  the  single  capital  operation  in  which 
the  etherial  inhalation  was  employed  by  me,  it  was  attended*  with  the 
happiest  results,  and  impressed  me  vidth  such  a  forcible  conviction  of 
its  importance,  that  I  deem  it  indispensable,  as  a  general  rule,  in  all 
serious  surgical  cases  requiring  the  use  of  the  knife. 

"Its  application  in  general  practice  is  becoming  daily  and  more  en- 
larged, as  its  peculiar  influence  over  the  nervous  system  and  'percep- 
tive' powers  is  developed  ;  and  the  physician  or  surgeon  who  banishes 
it  from  his  pharraacopasia,  is  neglecting  one  of  the  most  potent  weapons 
presented  for  his  use,  since  the  great  discovery  of  JenncM'. 

"Upon  the  whole  I  have  no  hesitation  in  expressing  the  opinion  that 
this  discover}',  when  divested  of  the  prejudices  attending  in  some  minds 
the  introduction  of  all  novelties,  and  when  the  accidents  inseparable 
from  its  abuse  or  ignorant  application,  are  ascribed  to  their  proper 


causes,  will  take  its  rank  as  among  the  most  valuable  acquisitions 
which  have  ever  been  made  to  medical  science. 

"  With  great  respect,  your  obedient  servant, 

"S.  R.  ADDISON, 
"  Passed  Assistant  Surgeon  U.  S,  Navy. 
"W.  T.  G.  Morton,  M.  D.,  Washirigton  City. 

Inquiries  were  also  instituted  into  its  effect  upon  mortality,  and  espe- 
pecially  of  surgical  operations.  To  be  fully  satisfactory,  inquiries  of 
this  character  should  extend  through  a  long  series  of  years,  and  embrace 
very  many  cases,  the  results  of  which  have  been  carefully  observed. 
The  discovery  being  of  recent  origin,  no  opportunity  for  inquiries  and 
observations  to  such  extent  has  been  afforded.  The  answers  to  such  in- 
quiries, where  received  in  specific  form,  have  embraced  one  class  only 
of  operations,  viz  :  amputations  of  thigh,  leg,  and  fore  arm.  The  sta- 
tistics thus  acquired,  the  committee  believe  to  be  reliable,  as  they  are 
derived  from  the  surgeons  of  the  army  and  navy,  from  a  few  hospitals, 
and  from  eminent  surgeons  in  civil  practice.  The  result  is  appended  in 
the  following  table,  accompanying  which  will  be  found  Prof.  Simpson's 
European  tables : 

Amputations  of  the  thigh,  leg,  arm,  and  fore  arm,  communicated  to 
the  committee,  with  their  results.  The  greater  number  of  those  in 
which  the  patients  were  not  etherized,  were  performed  before  the  disco- 
very of  the  anaesthetic  properties  of  ether  and  chloroform. 

-Not  etherized. 

Of  whom  died. 


Of  whom  died. 





No.  vni. —  Table  of  the  Mortality  of  Amputation  of  the  Thigh,  Leg,  and 



No.  of  cases. 

No.  of  deaths. 

Percent,  of  deaths. 

Parisian  Hospitals — Malgaigne  - 



57  in  100 

Glasgow  Hospital— Lawrie    -  - 



40  in  100 

General  Collection — Phillips  •  - 



35  in  100 

British  Hospitals— Simpson    -  - 



29  in  100 

Upon  patients  in  an  etherized  state 



23  in  100 

Six  hundred  and  sixtj'-nine  cases  of  anaesthesia  in  obsterical  practice  are 
likewise  reported  in  Professor  Simpson's  work — "Anesthesia  in  Surgery 
and  Midwifery" — and  a  tabular  statement  of  five  hundred  and  sixteen 
cases  in  Dr.  Channing's  work — "  Etherization  in  Childbirth" — the  re- 
sult being  highly  satisfactory. 


Great  Britain,  France,  and  all  other  enlightened  nations,  have,  from 
time  immemorial,  rewarded  munificently  such  services  to  humanity. 
The  British  Parliament,  by  two  successive  statutes,  bestowed  upon  Jen- 
ner  the  sums  of  ten  thousand  and  twenty  thousand  pounds  for  the  dis- 
covery of  vaccination.  The  world  has  as  yet  produced  but  one  great 
improvement  in  the  healing  art  deserving  to  be  ranked  with  that  of 
Jenner.*  America,  by  annihilating  pain,  has  done  as  much  for  the  bene- 

[  •  Extracts  from  the  British  and  Foreign  Medico- Chirugical  Review,  for  April,  1852.] 

'  Applications  of  Anceesthesia  to  Surgery,  Midwifery,  and  Dentistry. — Of  the  desira- 
bleness of  the  subjugation  or  annihilation  of  pain  in  surgical  operations,  considered  in  itself,  we 
cannot,  on  the  whole,  for  a  moment  doubt;  to  disarm  the  operating  table  of  a  great  portion  of  its 
terrors,  is  indeed  a  triumph  of  which  our  age  may  be  justly  proud.  Not  only  is  the  actual  paia 
of  an  operation  thus  removed,  but  also,  in  great  part,  that  indescribable  horror  which  often  torments 
the  patient  for  some  time  previously.  Men  of  the  greatest  courage  in  other  respects,  and  who 
•have  faced  danger  and  death  in  many  forms,  have  yet  shrunk  from  the  prospect  of  the  slow  and 
cold  blooded  torture  they  had  before  them  from  the  knife  of  the  surgeon.  Indeed,  however  man 
may  summon  his  fortitude  to  meet  physical  pain,  or  any  other  dire  misfortune,  we  must  all  bow 
to  the  laws  of  humanity,  and/eeZ  the  severity  of  fate,  in  spite  of  the  efforts  of  our  moral  nature 
to  rise  above  it.  But  when  we  find  that  this  great  relief  which  ansBsthetic  agents  afford,  is  to  be 
obtained  almost  without  risk,  and  on  the  whole  with  very  beneficial  results  otherwise,  we  should 
receive  this  great  discovery  with  gratitude  and  exultation.  So  complete  is  the  general  use  of 
antEsthetic  agents,  that  the  element  of  pain  as  an  obstacle  or  source  of  danger  or  of  terror  in 
surgery,  is  for  ever  almost  destroyed.  Manual  and  instrumental  therapeutics,  as  a  branch  of  ma- 
teria medica,  now  proceeds,  says  M.  Bouisson,  "in  the  silence,  as  it  were,  of  vegetative  life,  and 
its  salutary  mutilations  are  only  made  know  by  changes  of  form  without  any  painful  sensation 
having  been  experienced  by  the  organism."  True  it  is,  as  has  been  already  shown,  there  are  ex- 
ceptions to  the  general  jule;  but  they  are  so  rare  as  not  to  militate  practically  against  it. 

Besides  the  applications  of  antesthesia  to  operations,  it  may  be  employed  in  surgery  most  use- 
fully to  favor  the  diagnosis  of  some  cases.  Professor  Miller  recommends  its  use  in  the  examina- 
tion of  some  female  diseases,  to  save  the  delicacy  and  modesty  of  the  patients.  There  are  some 
diseases  which  cannot  otherwise  be  diagnosed  without  pain.  For  instance,  in  some  diseases  of 
the  eye  there  is  such  intense  photophobia,  with  spasmodic  contraction  of  the  eyelids  on  the  en- 
trance of  light  into  the  eye,  that  it  is  very  difficult  to  open  the  eyelide,  so  as  to  make  a  proper 
examination  of  the  organ  itself.  In  such  cases,  a  moderate  degree  of  anaesthesia  will  often  over- 
come the  resistance  of  the  orbicularis,  and  destroy  for  a  time  the  sensibility  of  the  retina,  so  as  to 
allow  of  the  examination  being  made.  In  many  accidents  the  pain  renders  it  difficult  to  allow  of 
the  garments  of  the  patient  being  removed,  and  the  parts  injured  being  properly  examined.  In 
bums  it  is  often  difficult  to  remove  the  scorched  clothes,  burned  as  it  were  into  the  skin.  In 
many  painful  affections  of  the  vagina,  accompanied  by  constriction,  it  is  often  hardly  possible  to 
use  the  speculum.  Cases  of  painful  catheterism  may  also  be  adduced,  and  necessary  exploration 
^  of  the  urinary  canal  and  bladder.  In  such  cases,  and  in  others  which  can  easily -be  imagined,  as 
in  affections  of  children,  when  the  struggles  of  the  patient  afford  an  obstacle,  and  in  many  in- 
stances of  feigned  disease,  as  we  shall'see  under  our  fourth  head,  the  services  which  anmsthesia, 
may  render  to  diagnosis  are  considerable.    *    »    »  ^ 

By  overcoming  pain,  it  has  caused  many  operations  which  used  to  be  as  rarely  performed  as 
possible,  to  come  more  in  the  way  of  the  surgeon:  the  removal  of  nails,  and  the  operation  of  the 
actual  cautery,  need  no  longer  inspire  horror  to  the  operator  or  to  the  patient.  With  the  view  of 
removing  muscular  resistance,  its  use  has  become  general  in  the  reduction  of  dislocations  and  the 
operation  of  the  taxis.    »  .  »  » 

The  diminution  of  the  shock  to  the  nervous  system  seems  to  favor  the  healing  of  wounds,  and 
altogether  increases  the  chances  of  recovery.  The  shivering  and  re- active  fever  which  often  fol- 
low operations  are  greatly  diminished  by  etherization;  there  is  generally  more  sleep,  and  more 
complete  feeling  of  comfort.    •    »  » 

It  is  not  necessary  to  point  out  the  occasional  benefit  which  may  be  derived  from  the  use  of 
anaesthesia  iri  the  taxis,  in  the  reduction  of  dislocations,  and  setting  of  fractures.  In  all  this 
class  of  surgical  operations,  cases  must  be  continually  occurring,  proving  to  the  surgeon  the 
immense  results  which  he  may  reap  from  the  new  discovery.    •    •  ♦ 

Anaesthesia  is  now  used  in  private  and  in  public  practice,  as  regularly  ia  lithotomy  as  in  otbor 
operations.    •    •  * 

Henceforth,  even  the  cock-pit  of  a  man-of-war,  and  the  hospital  after  a  field  of  battle,  will 
be  disarmed  of  half  their  terrors.   •    •  • 



fit  of  the  'race,  as  England  did  when  she  furnished  the  instrument  by 
•which  the  small  pox  may  be  finally  exterminated.  It  would  be  unwor- 
thy our  greatness,  and  our  destiny,  as  the  nation  soon  to  be  the  most 
powerful  on  the  globe,  to  undervalue  a  benefaction  to  nriankind,  which 
is  the  peculiar  glory  of  science,  of  our  age,  and  of  our  country. 

Your  Committee  therefore  recommend,  that  an  appropriation  be  made 
for  the  benefit  of  Dr.  W.  T.  G.  Morton,  to  be  paid  to  him  in  considera- 
tion of  his  discovery  of  the  anajsthetic  properties  of  the  vapor  of  sul- 
phuric ether,  and  of  his  public  and  successful  application  of  the  said  pain- 
destroying  agent  in  surgical  operations,  and  of  its  use  in  the  army  and 
navy  of  the  United  States,  and  conditioned  that  he  surrender  to  the 
United  States  his  patent  for  the  discovery.  The  majoi'ity  of  the  Com- 
mittee, in  view  of  its  use  as  above  mentioned,  and  of  the  incalculable 
value  of  the  discovery  to  the  whole  world,  are  of  the  opinion  that 
one  hundred  thousand  dollars  would  not  be  an  unreasonable  appropria- 
tion for  that  purpose.  They  herewith  report  a  bill.  [The  Committee 
on  Naval  Affairs,  House  of  Representatives,  and  the  Military  and  Naval 
Committees  of  the  Senate,  fully  concur  in  the  recommendation. — See 
pp.  92,  100.] 

W.  H.  BISSELL,  M.  D.  of  Illinois, 
JOS.  SUTHERLAND,  of  New  York, 
ROBERT  RANTOUL,  jr.  of  Massachusetts. 
GRAHAM  N.        ^H,  M.  D.,  one  of  the 
Regents  of  the  Smithsonian  Institut(         Professor  Jnstituts  and 
Practice  of  Medici)  sh  Medical  College. 

Office,  House  of  Representatives,  U.  S., 

City  of  Washington,  June  28,  1852. 

I,  John  W.  Forney,  Clerk  of  the  House  of  Representatives  of  the 
United  States  of  America,  do  hereby  certify,  that  the  accompanying 
printed  document  is  a  true  copy  of  the  report  agreed  upon  by  the  Select 
Committee  of  the  House  of  Representatives  on  the  memorial  of  Doctor 
William  T.  G.  Morton,  for  the  discovery  of  etherization,  and  will  be  pre- 
sented to  the  House  of  Representatives  when  the  said  Select  Committee 
shall  be  called  upon  to  report  in  the  regular  order  of  the  business  of  the 
said  House. 

#***#*»*  1^1  testimony  whereof,  I  have  hereunto  affixed  my  signa- 
*  I        ture  and  the  seal  of  the  House  of  Representatives  of 

*    *  *         the  United  States,  this  twenty-eighth  day  of  June,  in 

********        the  year  one  thousand  eight  hundred  and  fifty-two. 

'    Attest:  JOHN  W.  FORNEY, 

Clerk  of  the  House  of  Representatives,  U.  S. 

The  argument  in  favor  of  the  employment  of  ancesthesia  [in  midwifery]  may  be  summoned 
up  as  follows: 

1st.  The  removal  of  the  pain  is  beneficial  to  the  mother  by  preventing  the  nervous  excitement 
and  shock  which  physical  pain  is  apt  to  excite,  and  the  nervous  and  inflammatory  reaction  which, 
in  some  constructions,  is  apt  to  result. 

2nd.  It  renders  many  operations,  requisite  in  complicated  labors,  easier  of  performance,  and 
more  beneficial  to  the  patient. 

3rd.  .statistics  prove  the  practice  of  anaesthesia  to  be  beneficial  to  the  mothers,  and  nowise  dan- 
gerous to  the  children.    •    •  • 



Be  it  enacted  by  the  Senate  and  House  of  Representatives  of  the  Unite  I 
States  of  America  in  Congress  assembled,  That  the  Secretary  of  War  and 
the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  be,  and  they  are  hereby  authorized  and  in- 
structed to  receive  from  Wm.  T.  G.  Morton  his  patent  right  for  the  use 
of  sulphuric  ether  in  producing  insensibility  to  pain  during  surgical 
and  other  operations,  which  is  at  present  in  use  or  may  hereafter  at  any 
time  be  introduced  into  the  hospitals  of  the  army  and  navy,  the  peniten- 
tiary of  the  United  States,  and  board  of  the  national  shipping;  and 
there  shall  be  paid  to  the  said  Wm.  T.  G.  Morton,  the  sum  of  one  hun- 
ired  tliousand  dollars  out  of  any  money  in  the  treasury  not  otherwise 
Appropriated,  in  full  compensation  for  the  surrender  of  all  his  rights  un- 
der the  said  patent :  Provided,  however.  That  the  said  Wm.  T.  G.  Morton 
shall  surrender  all  right,  interest,  and  benefit  from  the  above  letters 
patent  to  the  Commissioner  of  Patents 

Dr.  Simpson,  in  1848,  communicated  the  results  obtained  in  1519  cases,  and  in  our  opinioa 
established  the  utility  of  anaesthesia  [in  midwifery]  upon  incontestable  grounds.    »    •  • 

Therapeutical  Applications  of  Anasthesia. — It  is  now  evident  that  the  use  of  anaesthetic 
agents  is  capable  of  an  extension  beyond  the  bounds  of  merely  operative  medicine.  It  has  been 
transported  into  medicine  itself ;  and  perhaps  this  circumstance  may  attract  the  attention  of  the 
profession  to  the  advantages  which  may  accrue  from  the  use  of  other  remedies  in  the  form  of  in- 
halations. When  we  consider  the  great  extent  of  the.  pulmonary  mucous  membrane,  and  the 
facility  with  which  vapors  may  be  introduced  through  the  respiration  into  the  blood,  it  seems  ex- 
traordinary that  this  mode  of  administering  medicines  has  not  been  more  exactly  studied.  *  •  • 

Pain  exists  in  a  vast  number  of  diseases,  where  even  opium  is  insufficient  to  afford  relief ;  in 
such  cases  a  field  is  opened  to  the  use  of  anaesthetic  agents.    *    *  * 

In  several  cases  of  intense  facial  neuralgia,  benefit  has  been  obtained  from  the  inhalation  of 
ehloroform,  when  all  other  remedies  have  failed.  In  pains  of  the  bowels,  gastralgia,  and  in  nerT- 
ous  colics,  similar  results  have  followed.  Many  observers  have  pointed  out  the  benefit  de- 
rived from  doses  of  chloroform  in  the  liquid  form,  in  relieving  the  pain  at  the  early  stages  of 
•holera.    *    •  * 

In  tetanus  many  favorable  cases  have  been  reported.    *    »  » 

In  mental  aliepation  anaesthesia  has  been  a  good  deal  used.    •    •  • 

AnJEsthetic  agents  have  been  appliecl  locally  in  the  way  of  friotions,  in  nervous  and  rheumatic 
pains,  in  painful  ophthalmia,  and  in  orchitis.  Under  the  hands  of  some  it  has  been  found  ex- 
ceedingly successful  in  relieving  pain,  and  subduing  inflammation,  and  in  the  dressing  of  ulcers. 

It  is  very  plain  to  us  that  we  are  only  at  the  beginning  of  the  medicinal  use  of  these  agents. 

Applications  to  Legal  Medicine.  Simulated  dumbness,  deafness,  and  slammering,  can  be 

See  page  86  of  this  report, 


Itesolutiqn  from  tlie  Committee  on  Naval  Affairs  of  the  House 

of  Representatvvea. 


Resolved,  That  the  Committee  on  Naval  Affairs  of  the  House  of  Re- 
presentatives agree  in  the  propriety  of  the  appropriation  for  Dr.  W.  T. 
G.  Morton,  for  the  discovery  of  etherization,  recommended  by  the  Select 
.Committee  of  the  House  of  Representatives  on  that  subject,  and  adopt 
the  suggestions  ol  the  Chairman  of  the  said  Select  Committee,  [hereto 
annexed,]  to  offer  the  same  as  an  amendment  to  the  bill  making  appro- 
priations for  the  naval  service,  in  conformity  with  the  views  of  the  Se- 
cretaries of  War,  Navy,  and  Treasury  Departments,  as  expressed  in 
their  correspondence  with  this  committee,  [see  correspondence  annexed.] 

FREDERICK  P.  STANTON,  of  Tennessee, 

THOS.  B.  FLORENCE,  of  Pennsylvania, 

ROBT.  GOODENOW,  of  Maine, 

S.  W.  HARRIS,  of  Alabama, 

E.  CARRINGTON  CABELL,  of  Florida. 

House  of  R«presentatives  U.  S.,  May  31,  1852. 

Sir  :  I  have  the  honor  to  inform  you  that  the  Select  Committee  of  the 
House  of  Representatives,  to  w^hom  was  referred  the  memorial  of  I)r, 
"William  T.  G.  Morton,  asking  remuneration  from  Congress  for  the  dis- 
covery of  the  anaesthetic  properties  of  sulphuric  ether,  have  agreed  upon 
a  report,  (a  copy  of  which  is  enclosed,)  which  they  are  awaiting  an  op- 
portunity to  present  to  the  House.  You  will  observe  that  in  this  report 
the  committee  fully  recognise  the  inestimable  benefits  conferred  upon 
'  the  human  race  by  this  discovery,  and  believing  that  the  example  of  the 
enlightened  nations  of  the  old  world,  in  awarding  munificently  those 
who  have  rendered  important  services  to  humanity,  is  (particularly 

forthy  of  imitation  in  the  present  instance,  have  determined  to  report 
l,bill  appropriating  the  sum  of  one  hundred  thousand  dollars  to  Dr. 
Morton  as  a  compensation  for  his  discover}^,  and  in  consideration  of  the 
surrender  to  the  United  States  of  all  right  and  interest  which  he  now 
holds  in  that  discovery,  in  virtue  of  letters  patent  granted  to  him  by 
this  Government.*  ' 

•  Washington,  January  5,  1847. 

Db.  W.  T.  G.  Morton,  Boston,  Mass. 

Deah  Sin:  Yours  of  the  26th  ult,  was  receired  in  due  course  of  mail,  and  in  answer  I  hare 
to  say,  that,  at  the  time  your  application  for  preventing  pain  in  surgical  operations  was  under  con- 
sideration in  the  Patent  Office,  Mr.  Eddy  consulted  me  on  the  novelly  and  patentabilily  of  your 
discovery.  I  then  examined  the  subject  carefully,  and  gave  it  as  my  decided  and  candid  opinion 
that  it  was  novel,  and  the  legitimate  subject  of  a  patent;  and  this  opinion  has  only  been  strength- 


The  sum  abovementioned  will,  it  is  believed,  not  be  deemed  too  large,* 
when  we  remember  the  benefits  which  have  been  conferred,  and  when 
we  consider  the  fact  that,  contrary  to  that  provision  in  the  Constitution 
which  declares  that  "  private  property  shall  not  be  taken  for  public  use 
without  just  compensation,"  this  nation  has  been  for  years,  and  is  now- 
daily  availing  itself  of  the  advantages  to  be  derived  from  this  new 

ened  by  further  reflection.  Under  the  law,  any  new  and  useful  art  is  made  the  subject  of  a  patent. 
This  covers  any  discovery  in  modes  of  procedure  having  a  useful  object  in  yiew,  and  susceptible 
of  being  so  defined  as  to  instruct  others  to  apply  or  make  use  of  the  mode  of  procedure.  There 
can  be  no  question  that  your  discovery  comes  under  this  provision  of  law.  It  is  a  new  mode  of 
procedure,  definite  in  its  character,  and  which  may  be  taught  to  others,  and  which,  therefore, 
comes  under  the  denommation  of  an  art,  as  defined  by  the  ablest  judges  in  Europe  and  in  this 

Before  your  discovery,  many  attempts  had  been  made  to  render  persons  insensible  to  pain,  pre- 
paratory to  surgical  operations,  by  introducing  into  the  stomach  intoxicating  substances;  but  this 
mode  of  procedure  was  unsuccessful.  You  then  discovered  that,  by  introducing  into  the  lungs 
the  vapor  of  certain  substances,  a  different  effect  was  produced  from  that  of  intoxication  produced 
by  the  introduction  of  substances  into  the  stomach,  and  that  this  effect  was  such  as  to  render  the 
patient  insensible  to  pain :  hence  the  use  of  this  discovery,  in  connection  with  surgical  operations, 
is  an  improvement  in  the  art  of  surgery.  A  discovery  in  the  abstract  is  not  the  subject  of  letters 
patent?  as  the  discovery  of  the  elastic  force  of  steam;  of  the  pressure  of  the  atmosphere;  of  the 
expansion  of  metals  under  the  influence  of  caloric,  &c. ;  for  this  is  the  mere  finding  out  of  some- 
thing existing  before. 

The  mere  discovery  in  these  cases  had  no  direct  useful  application  in  the  arts  or  affairs  of  life, 
and  could  not  be  appropriated  to  the  sole  use  of  the  discoverers;  but  the  moment  any  one  of  them 
could  be  applied  to  a  useful  practical  purpose,  then  the  party  so  applying  it  produces  a  useful  re- 
sult; and  such  application,  originating  in  the  mind  of  the  discoverer^or  inventor,  is  no  longer  a 
discovery,  in  the  abstract,  of  something  before  existing,  but  a  new  creation,  which,  having  its 
origin  in  the  mind  of  the  discoverer,  and  not  existing  before,  (for  it  is  an  artificial  condition,)  is, 
in  view  of  the  law,  the  property  of  the  one  who  conceived  it.  There  can  be  no  question  that 
the  one  who  first  conceived  the  idea  of  intoxicating  a  patient,  preparatory  to  a  surgical  operation, 
would  have  been  entitled  to  a  patent  for  his  new  mode  of  proceedure  ;  how,  then,  does  your  plan 
differ  from  his  ?  You  conceived  the  idea^that,  by  introducing  the  vapor  of  certain  substances 
into  the  lungs,  a  different  condition  of  the  nervous  system  was  produced,  viz;  A  state  of  in- 
sensibility to  pain  ;  and,  by  connecting  this  mode  of  producing  this  state  of  insensibility  to  pain 
with  surgical  operations,  you  have  produced  a  new  and  useful  result,  highly  important  in  the  art 
of  surgery;  the  result  of  a  new  conception,  originating  in  your  mind,  and  legitimately  the  subject 
of  letters  patent.    Your  invention  is  the  connexion  of  the  two  processes  or  modes  of  operation. 

Before  the  date  of  Watt's  invention  of  the  steam-engine,  the  expansive  force  of  steam  had 
been  applied  to  a  piston  in  a  cylinder,  and  it  was  well  known  that,  by  the  application  of  cold 
water,  steam  could  be  condensed  in  a  vessel  to  etiect  a  vacuum;  and  all  that  immortalized  that 
great  man  was  the  union  of  these  two  ideas,  or  modes  of  proceedure:  applying  the  force  of 
steam  in  one  vessel,  and  condensing  it  in  another.  In  a  legal  point  of  view,  your  invention  does 
not  differ  from  this,  which  has  been  admitted  to  be  patentable  by  all  the  legal  knowledge  of  the 
world,  and  the  universal  consent  of  civilized  man. 
I  am,  sir,  yours,  very  respectfully, 

CHARLES  M.  KELLER, /(w  Keller  4-  Greenough. 

Februaiit  19,  1847. 

I  concur  in  the  foregoing  opinion  entirely;  entertaining  no  doubt  that  Dr.  Morton's  discovery- 
is  a  new  and  useful  art,  and,  as  such,  the  proper  subject  of  a  patent. 


I  have  e:^jimined  the  question  of  the  patentability  of  Dr.  Morton's  discovery  of  the  anesthetic 
property  of  ether,  and  its  applicability  to  surgical  operations,  and  entertain  no  doubt  as  to  the  va- 
lidity of  the  patent,  or  of  his  exclusive  title  thereto. 

J.  M.  CARLISLE,  Washmgion. 
*  Extract  of  a  letter  dated  Patent  Office,  Washington,  November  16,  1846. 

It  will  of  course  be  a  source  of  great  pecaniary  profit.  It  must  of  course,  come  into  general 
Hfle,  and  licenses  at  moderate  rates  will  produce  a  lajge  revenue.  EDMUND  BURKE, 

Commissioner  0/  Fatenta, 


agent,  by  employing  it  in  her  navy  and  army,  and  in  other  public  insti- 
tutions, without  compensating  the  discoverer,  and  that  too,  after  having 
issued  a  patent  guaranteeing  to  him  the  full  and  exclusive  privileges  and 
rights  accruing  from  his  discovery.  In  view  of  these  considerations,  and 
of  the  fact  that  although  nearly  six  years  have  elapsed  since  this  dis- 
covery, no  pecuniary  benefits  have  been  derived  therefrom  by  the  dis- 
coverer, and  looking,  also,  to  what  is  just  and  right  from  a  great  govern- 
ment to  the  greatest  benefactor  of  the  human  race  of  the  present  age,  it 
is  very  desirable  that  his  award  should  be  no  longer  delayed. 

The  object  of  this  communicatit)n,  therefore,  is  to  urge  upon  your  con- 
sideration the  practicability  and  propriety  of  attaching  the  bill  above 
referred  to,  to  the  "  Naval  Appropriation  Bill"  for  the  ensuing  fiscal  year. 

For  your  further  information  in  regard  to  the  use  of  this  agent  in  the 
army  and  navy,  I  enclose  copies  of  letters'from  the  Surgeon  General  of 
the  Army,  and  from  the  Chief  of  the  Bureau  of  Medicine  and  Surgery 
o^the  Navy,  (see  pages  82  and  86,)  which  may  be  useful  to  you,  in  case 
you  deem  it  proper  or  necessary  to  communicate  on  this  subject  with 
either  the  Secretary  of  War  or  of  the  Navy. 

Very  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 


Hon.  Feed.  P.  Stanton,  Chairman  Committee  on  Naval  Affairs,  House 
of  Representatives. 

•Upon  the  receipt  of  the  letter  from  the  Chairman  of  the  Select  Com- 
mittee upon  the  Memorial  of  Dr.  Morton,  Mr.  Stanton  addressed  the 
following  letter  respectively  to  the  Secretaries  of  War,  Navy,  and  Trea- 
sury : 

Washington,  June  7,  1852. 
Sir  :  I'hatye  the  honor  to  transmit  to  you  the  enclosed  communication 
from  the  Hon.  W.  H.  Bissell,  with  the  copies  of  letters  from  the  Chief  of 
the  Bureau  of  Medicine  and  Surgery  of  the  Navy,  and  the  Surgeon  Gen- 
eral of  the  Army,  and  other  documents  therein  referred  to,  all  of  which 
relate  to  the  memorial  of  Dr.  William  T.  G.  Morton,  asking  remunera- 
tion from  Congress  for  the  discovery  of  the  aucBSthetic  properties  of  sul- 
phuric ether. 

I  concur  in  most  of  the  views  and  opinions  expressed  by  Col.  Bissell 
as  to  the  propriety  and  justice  of  compensating  one  who  is  so  eminently- 
entitled  to  the  gratitude  not  only  of  his  countrymen,  but  of  the  world  at 
4arge,  especially  when  Dr.  Morton  presents  himself  as  the  sole  patentee 
of  the  discovery,  and  seeks,  on  condition  of  the  surrender  of  his  patent, 
remuneration  for  the  benefits  which  are  alleged  to  have  been  received 
therefrom  by  the  Government,  through  its  constant  use  in  the  army  and 
navy  during  the  war  with  Mexico,*  and  up  to  the  present  time..  But  in 

*  It  is  impossible  not  to  perceive  that  the  fact  of  the  Government  having  disregarded  Dr.  Mor- 
ton's patent,  and  appropriated  his  discovery  to  the  public  service  without  compensation,  was  at- 
tended  with  consequences  far  more  injurious  to  his  rights  than  the  mere  neglect  or  refusal  to 
compensate  him  for  the  use  of  his  property.  Nothing  could  have  struck  more  fatally  at  the  va- 
lidity of  his  patent,  in  public  opinion,  than  the'  open  infraction  of  it  by  the  very  Government 
from  whom  it  had  been  purchased.  Its  direct  tendency  and  practical  cflect,  were  to  proclaim  to 
the  public  that  the  patent  was  no  obstacle  in  the  way  of  the  use  of  the  discovery,  without  the  li- 
cense of  the  patentee.  Accordingly  it  is  a  fact  which  has  been  made  evident  to  the  committee  by 
a  comparison  of  facts  and  other  evidence,  tliat  although  numerous  sales  were  made  by  Dr.  Mor- 
ton prior  to  the  public  announcement  that  th^  use  of  ether  had  been  adopted  in  the  public  service, 
(New  York  Herald  and  other  papers,)  not  a^single  application  was  made  to  him  after  that  fact 
became  generally  known. 


order  to  comply  with  Col.  Bissell's  suggestion,  by  submitting  the  matter 
to  the  Committee  on  Naval  Ali'airs  of  the  House  of  Representatives,  I 
deem  it  appropriate  and  necessary  to  procure  the  wiews  of  the  Depart- 
ment in  an  official  form. 

Supposing  that  you  will  concur  in  the  views  expressed  by  the  Chiefs 
of  the  Medical  Corps  of  the  Army  and  Navy,  in  the  concluding  para- 
graphs of  their  communications  on  the  subject,  I  do  not  doubt  that  you 
will  give  the  proposition  of  the  Hon.  Mr.  Bissell,  a  fair  and  liberal  con- 
sideration. I  am,  very  respectfully,  your  ob't  servant, 


The  following  replies  have  been  received : 

Treasury  Department,  June  25,  1852. 

Sir :  I  have  the  honor  to  acknowledge  the  receipt  of  your  letter  of 
the  17th  instant,  covering  copies  of  a  communication  from  the  Hon.  W. 
H.  Bissell,  of  a  letter  from  the  Chief  of  the  Bureau  of  Medicine  and 
Surgery  of  the  Navy,  and  of  a  letter  from  the  Surgeon  General  of  tKe 
Army,  with  certain  printed  matter,  all  relating  to  the  memorial  of  Dr. 
Wm.  T.  G.  Morton,  asking  remuneration  from  Congress  for  the  discov- 
ery of  the  anaesthetic  properties  of  sulphuric  ether. 

An  attentive  examination  of  these  several  documents  has  satisfied  me 
that  sulphuric  ether  and  tincture  of  chloroform  are  very  generally  used 
in  the  army  and  navy  of  the  United  States,*  as  ana;sthetic  agents;  and 
the  decided  testimony  borne  to  the  merits  of  these  etherial  preparations 
by  the  Chief  of  the  Bureau  of  Medicine  and  Surgery  of  the  Navy,  and  the 
Surgeon  General  of  the  Army,  leaves  no  doubt  upon  my  mind  as  to  their 
great  value  in  medical  and  surgical  practice.  In  addition  to  the  evidence 
thus  afforded  in  their  favor,  I  may  mention  the  fact  that  these  agents  now 
form  a  part  of  the  regular  medical  supply  to  the  marine  hospitals  of  the 
United  States,  and  that  they  are  employed  therein  with  very  general 

Regarding  the  discovery  of  the  anaesthetic  properties  of  sulphuric 
ether,  as,  in  the  language  of  Surgeon  General  Lawson,  "one  of  the  most 
important  and  valuable  contributions  to  medical  science,  and  to  the  re- 
lief of  suffering  humanity,  ever  made,"  I  concur  entirely  with  Col.  Bis- 

*  Extract  from  a  report  of  the  Surgeon  General  to  the  Secretary  of  War. 

••  During  ihe  three  years  immediately  preceding,  and  the  three  years  of  peace  subsequent  to  the 
Mexican  war,  ihe  average  annual  number  of  wounds  and  injuries  treated  in  the  army  has  beea 
2,592."  »  *  »  «  These  agents  (ether  and  chloroform)  may  be  useful  in  all  the  amputations, 
m  many  of  the  fractures  not  requiring  amputation,  in  a  number  of  luxations,  gunshot  wounds,  and 
other  injuries  requiring  an  operation;  also  in  a  number  of  diseases,  such  as  strangulated  hernia, 
calculus,  heemorrhoids,  fistulas,  tumors,  &c.,  requiring  the  knife,  including  cases  of  delirium 
tremens,  and  occasionally  a  case  of  parturition." 

Dr.  Richard  H.  Coolidge,  of  the  Surgeon  General's  Office,  says  :  "I  have  examined  the 
reports  of  sick  and  wounded  from  the  army  during  the  recent  war  with  Mexico.  I  find  that  the 
number  of  gun-shot  wounds  reported,  amounts  to  3,949,  and  that  of  all  other  wounds  and  inju- 
Srred  *        °^  ^'^^'^^  niimher  probably  falls  far  short  of  what  actually 

Extract  of  report  of  Bureau  of  Medicine  and  Surgery  to  the  Secretary  of  War. 

"  The  number  of  wounds  and  injuries  of  all  kinds  requiring  medical  treatment  in  the  naval 
service  during  the  year  1850  was  1,379."  .v 

_  Neither  of  the  above  reports  includes  wounds  and  injuries  treated  in  the  fifleen  U.  S.  Marino 


sell  and  yourself,  as  to  the  propriety  and  justice  of  liberally  compensat- 
ing the  patentee,  who  has  not  at  any  lime  received  pecuniary  advan- 
tage* from  his  discovery,  and  who  now  appeals  to  the  Legislature  of  his 
country,  on  condition  of  the  surrender  of  his  patent  for' the  benefit  of 
mankind,  for  proper  remuneration  in  lieu  of  the  gains  that  he"  would  have 
derived  had  he  been  protected  in  iHe  use  of  the  rights  conferred  upon  him 
'^y  letters  patent  of  the  Government.  I  therefore  recommend  that  such 
reasonable  and  liberal  sum,  as  the  committee  of  which  you  are  chairman 
may  in  their  discretion  determine  upon,  be  reported  as  a  national  com- 
pensation to  Dr.  Morton,  and  that  the  same  be  attached,  as  proposed  by 
Col.  Bissell,  to  the  "naval  appropriation  bill"  for  the  ensuing  fiscal  3rear. 
I  have  the  honor  to  be,  very  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 


Hon.  Frederick  P.  Stanton,  Secretary  of  the  Treasury. 

Chairman  Naval  Committee  House  of  Reps. 

■  • 

'  War  Department, 

Washington,  June  21,  1852. 

Sir:  I  have  received  your  letter  of  the  7th  instant,  enclosing  sundry 
documents  relating  to  the  memorial  of  Dr.  William  T.  G.  Morton,  who 
seeks  remuneration  from  the  Government  for  the  discovery  of  the  anaes- 
thetic properties  of  sulphuric  ether. 

In  reply  I  beg  leave  to  state  that  I  have  no  information  on  the  subject . 
of  this  discovery  other  than  that  which  I  have  derived  from  public  rumor 
and  from  the  documents  you  enclose,  it  being  exclusively  a  professional 
question.  All  the  information  which  this  department  could  furnish  the 
committee  is  contained  in  the  letter  from  the  Surgeon  General^  M'hich  is 
among  the  papers  you  enclose. 

Judging  from  this  information,  there  can  be  but  little  doubt  that  this 
discovery  is  one  of  the  most  valuable  contributions  that  science  has  ever 
made  to  the  cause  of  humanity. 

*  BosTOTT,  April  20,  1852. 
Dr.  W.  T.  G.  MoBTOsr — Dear  Sir :  As  by  the  terms  of  the  agreement  made  between  yourself 
and  me  on  the  30th  day  of  October,  1846,  I  am  required  as  often  as  once  in  six  months  to  ren- 
der you  an  account  of  the  net  profits  resulting  from  sales  of  certain  patents,  etc.,  as  will  appear 
by  reference  to  said  agreement.  I  have  now  to  inform  you,  and  do  inform  you,  that  up  to  this 
date,  April  2d,  1847,  I  have  received  no  net  profits  on  account  of  any,  and  therefore  can  render 
you  no  further  account  than  this,  or  pay  to  you  any  moneys  resulting  from  any  net  profits  re- 
ceived. Yours,  respectfully, 

R.  H.  EDDY. 

[Extract  from  a  letter  written  hy  Caleb  Eddy,  Esq.,  of  Boston,  to  Hon.  Robert  C.  Win- 
throjj.  Speaker  of  the  House  of  Representatives  30th  Congress.] 

"To  my  knowledge  he  has  spent  large  sums  of  money,  and  I  think  deserves  some  considera- 
tion in  return." 

[Extracts  from  letters  written  in  1848,  to  the  Trustees  of  the  Massachusetts  General  Hos- 
pital, by  B.  F.  Brooks,  an  eminent  lawyer,  and  Mr.  Joseph  Burnett,  merchant,  both  of 

"I  have  gone  somewhat  into  detail,  that  you  may  see  the  nature  of  Dr.  Morton's  embarrass- 
ments. They  have  grown  out  of  his  cffurts  in  a  cause  which  has  resuUed  in  a  great  public 
good,  and  he  deserves  a  better  fate  than  to' be  left  to  sink  under  them. 

"  Yours  truly, 


"And  am  satisfied  that  he  has  been  a  loser  of  several  thousand  dollars,  directly  or  indirectly, 

.in  consequence  of  his  labors  devoted  to  this  object.  ,. 


I  do  not  know  what  the  practice  of  the  Government  has  been  in  re- 
gard to  rewarding  individuals  for  inventions  or  discoveries  made  by 
rhem,*  or,  at  least,  compens^iting  them  for  the  use  of  them  in  the  public 
service,  [see  page  81  and  89,]  but  I  do  not  hesitate  to  say  that  if  it  has 
been  the  practice  of  Congress  to  grant  such  rewards  or  compensation, 
Dr.  Morton's  claim  is  fairly  entitled  to  the  most  liberal  consideration. 
Very  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 

^      ^  CM.  CONRAD, 

Secretary  of  War.  ' 

Hon.  Frederick  P.  Stanton, 

Chairman  Committee  on  Naval  Affairs,  House  of  Reps. 

*  List  of  Patents  purchased  and  used  in  the  Army  of  the  United  States. 

Thomas  Blanchard. — For  the  use  of  several  machines  for  turning  or  cutting  irregular  forms, 
constituting  in  the  whole  what  is  generally  known  as  the  Gun-stock  turning  Machine,  with  the 
■everal  improvements  for  the  use  of,  and  in  connection  with  this  invention,  there  has  been  paid  to 
Mr.  Blanchard  by  this  Department,  for  the  privilege  of  using  the  same,      8,921  50. 

/.  H.  Hall. — For  the  right  to  make  and  use  patent  breech  loading  rifle  and  carbine,  and  all  the 
machinery  for  making  the  same,  there  has  been  paid  to  Mr.  Hall  and  his  heirs,  the  sum  ot 
037,553  32. 

Dr.  E.  Maynard,  March  20,  1845. — For  the  right  to  make  and  use  his  improved  lock  and 
percussion  priming  for  small  arms,  and  to  apply  the  same  to  4,000  muskets,  there  has  been  paid 
to  Dr.  Maynard,  ^4,000. 

The  right  to  use  the  invention  and  apply  the  same  to  a  greater  number  of  arms  at  a  reduced  scale 
of  prices  has  been  secured,  and  may  be  used  if  desirable,  as  follows,  viz:  For  10,000  muskets, 
$7,500  ;  for  20,000  muskets,  $10,000;  for  100,000  muskets,  $25,000  ;  any  greater  nuinber  at  a 
price  to  be  agreed  upon,  not  exceeding  25  cents  for  each  musket. 

J.  B.  Hyde,  Dec.  1846. — For  the  right  to  make  and  use  Hales's  patented  war  rocket  to  an  un- 
limited extent  for  the  military  service,  $10,000. 

S.  Mower  and  W.  H.  Scomlle,  attorneys  of  P.  W.  Gates,  Sept.  5,  1848. — For  the  right  to 
make  and  use  m  all  establishments  of  the  Ordnance  Department  Gates'  patent  dies  for  cutting 
screws,  $750.  ' 

Loughs  Bridge  Patent. — For  the  Bridge  Patent  privilege  there  has  been  paid  $850  00. 

Mitchell's  Screw  Pile— For  Sand  Key  Lighthouse,  §1,700  00. 

Mitchell's  Screw  Pile — For  Brandy  wine  Lighthouse  and  Ice-breaker,  $2,400  00. 

Boettcher's  Fuze. 

Stevens's  Shell. 

List  of  Patents  purchased  and  used  in  the  Navy  of  the  United  States. 

Stevens'  "  Cut-off." — For  right  to  use  two  on  Mississippi  or  other  steamer  during  continuance 
of  patent,  $2,500 ;  for  right  to  use  on  Saranac,  $2,700.— Total,  $5,200. 

Sickell  and  Cook's  "Cut-off."— For  right  to  use  on  Michigan,  $3,000  ;  on  Water  Witch,  $750  ; 
on  Gen.  Taylor,  $500  ;  on  Powhatan,  $6,681  25  ;  on  San  Jacinto,  $4,418  ;  on  Fulton,  $1,780  98; 
on  Princeton,  $2,700  ;  on  Alleghany,  $3,927.— Total,  $23,757  23. 

George  W.  Taylor's  "  Marine  Camels." — For  one  set  for  first  class  sloop-of-war,  with  right  lo 
use  said  camels  during  continuance  of  patent,  $27,500.— Total,  $27,500 

West  and  Thompson's  "  Clasp  Coupling."— For  right  to  use  on  Susquehanna,  Saranac,  San 
Jocinto,  and  Powhatan,  $1  20  per  inch  diameter  of  attached  vessel. 

Worthington  and  Baker's  "Steam  Pump."— For  one  for  San  Jacinto,  $500  ;  two  for  Powha- 
tan at  $500,  $1,000  ;  two  for  Princeton  at  $600,  $1,200 ;  two  for  Alleghany  at  $600,  $1,200  : 
one  for  Water  Witch,  $400  ;  one  for  Vixen,  $400 ;  one  for  Fulton,  $500  ;  two  for  Mississippi, 
$1,100;  two  for  Saranac,  $1,000  ;  two  for  Susquehanna,  $1,000;  article  manufactured  and 
patent  included  in  each  case.— Total,  $8,300. 

Worthington  and  Baker's  "  Percussion  Water  Guage."— For  three  for  Princeton  at  $80 

$240  ;  three  for  Alleghany  at  $80,  $240  ;  four  for  Powhatan  at  $60,  $240  ;  four  for  Mississippi 

at  $60,  $240  ;  one  for  Water  Witch,  $60  ;  one  for  Vi.xen,  $60  ;  two  for  Fulton  at  $60,  $120  • 

Sl^^oon  $180  ;  article  manufactured  and  patent  included  in  each  case.— Total, 


Copland's  "  Self  Acting  Blow."— For  right  to  use  and  make  for  Tullon,  San  Jacinto,  and 
Powhatan,  $1,270  ;  for  Vixen,  $144 ;  for  Saranac,  $480.— Total",  $1,894. 

'\^''^i'}°"'elers"—For  seven  for  Alleghany  at  $75,  $525 ;  seven  for  Princeton  at 
$75,  $525  ;  four  for  Susquehanna  at  $75,  $300 ;  four  for  Powhatan  at  $75,  $300  ;  three  for 
Saranac  at  $75,  $225;  four  for  Fulton  at  $75,  $300 ;  one  for  Water  Witch,  $75 ;  one  for  Vixen, 


Navy  Department,  Bureau  of  Medicine  and  Surgery, 

June  29,  1852. 

biR:  1  havie  had  the  honor  to  receive  your  letter  of  yesterday's  date, 
in  relation  to  the  memorial  of  Dr.  W.  T.  G.  Morton,  asking  of  Congress 
remuneration  for  the  discovery  of  the  anaesthetic  properties  of  sulphurie 
ether,  and  calling  upon  me  for  a  statement  as  to  the  basis  on  which  the 
claim  is  founded,  with  an  estimate  of  the  amount  to  which,  in  my  opin- 
ion, lie  is  entitled,  on  the  score  of  the  benefits  and  advantages  resulting 
from  its  use  in  the  naval  service. 

As  the  views  of  the  Bureau  in  regard  to  the  importance  of  this  dis- 
covery have  been  ah-eady  expressed  in  a  communication  to  Dr.  Morton, 
I  beg  leave  to  extract  so  much  of  it  as  relates  to  this  branch  of  the 

"  In  reply  to  your  inquiry  as  to  the  importance  attached  to  the  late 
discovery  of  etherization,  by  the  Medical  Corps  of  the  Navy,  it  gives  me 
pleasure  to  express  the  high  sense  they  entertain  of  its  utility,  not  only 
in  surgical  practice,  but  as  a  powerful  agent  in  many  painful  affections 
which  have  resisted  the  ordinary  remedies.  This  opinion  is  strengthened 
by  the  concurrent  testimony  of  the  ablest  civil  practitioners  of  our  own 
country,  with  the  emphatic  endorsement  of  its  value  by  the  best  British 
and  continental  surgeons. 

"  The  gist  of  this  discovery  consists  in  finding  that  nervous  perception 
is  suspended  under  the  influence  of  the  etherial  inhalation  ;  and  while 
suspended,  that  the  patient  is  unconscious  of  pain  under  the  operation 
of  the  knife.  In  addition  to  the  great  benefit  derived  from  its  use,  in  al- 
leviating pain,  it  has  a  decided  effect  in  diminishing  mortality.  Its  ad- 
vantage in  this  respect  appears  to  be  in  saving  the  system  from  the 
severe  shock  and  nervous  exhaustion  which  attend  most  of  "the  graver 
surgical  operations,  and  which  of  themselves  often  prove  fatal. 

"  It  dispels  the  fear  of  pain  which  formerly  prevented  many  from  sub- 
mitting to  an  operation,  or  induced  them  to  defer  it  until  too  late. 

"It  enables  the  surgeon,  also,  to  operate  coolly,  and  effectually,  undis- 
turbed by  the  cries  and  struggles  of  the  patient,  which  sometimes  un- 
nerves the  steadiest  hand,  and  render  abortive  the  best  directed  efforts." 

In  regard  to  the  grounds  on  which  Dr.  Morton  basis  his  claim  to  pe- 
cuniary remuneration  from  the  Government,  I  would  state,  that  from 
the  peculiar  nature  of  the  discovery,  it  is  impossible  to  protect  the  in- 
ventor in  the  exclusive  advantage  of  it  by  letters  patent.    The  novelty 

$75  ;  four  for  Mississippi  at  $75,  $300  ;  three  for  San  Jacinto  at  $75,  $225  ;  article  manufe*- 
tiired  and  patent  included  in  each' case. — Total,  $2,850. 

Allen  and  Noyes^  "  Metallic  Packing." — For  right  to  use  on  Powhatan,  Mississippi,  and 
Michigan,  $3,400  ;  on  Saranac,  $1,250  ;  on  Princeton,  $900;  on  Alleghany,  $900  ;  on  Water 
Witch,  $700  ;  on  Vixen,  $700.— Total,  $7,850. 

Pirsson's  "Condenser."— For  right  to  use  on  Alleghany,  inclusive  of  his  personal  attendance 
while  manufacturing,  $1,000.— Total,  $1,000. 

La7nb  and  Summci-'s  "  Sheet-flue  Boiler." — For  right  to  make  and  use  on  Princeton  and  Al- 
leghany, $5,085;  on  Water  Witch  and  Vixen,  $1,800.— Total,  $6,885. 

B.  Crawford's  "Steam  Thermometer." — For  one  to  be  used  at  the  Foundry  Washington  Navy 
Yard,  inclusive  of  patent,  $100.— Total,  $100. 

Lt.  Hunter's  "Submerged  Wheel." — For  right  to  use  on  Alleghany,  (not  now  used,)  $10,330. 
Total,  $10,320. 

Francis  "Life  Boat."— For  cne  for  Mississippi,  $520  ;  one  for  Vandalia,  $520  ;  one  for  Vm- 
cennea,  $520  ;  one  for  Saranac,  $540  ;  one  for  Alleghany,  $540  ;  one  for  Copper  Cutter,  $540  ; 
one  Dingy  for  Washington  Yard,  $50  ;  one  Dingy,  $126  ;  one  Dingy  for  Alleghany,  $126 ;  one 
Copper  Cutter,  $540 ;  manufactured  article  and  patent  included  in  each  case. — Total,  $4,022. 



of  the  discovery  consists  in  the  new  application  of  an  old  remedial  agent, 
and  the  privilege  of  using  it,  on  the  part  of  the  profession  at  large,  can- 
not be  practically  curtailed  by  statutory  enactment.  The  inventor  is 
thus  deprived  of  the  pecuniary  advantages  of  his  discovery,  and  is  justi- 
fied in  appealing  to  the  Government,  which  also  largely  avails  itself  of 
the  benefits  derived  from  it,  for  relief. 

It  will  be  difficult  to  estimate  the  amount  which  the  inventor  may 
reasonably  ask  of  the  Government  in  consideration  of  the  advantages 
attending  its  use  in  the  two  services.  For  the  reasons  above  mentioned, 
the  cost  of  the  ether  itself  cannot  enter  as  an  element  into  the  calcula- 
tion, and  the  fairest  estimate,  I  conceive,  might  be  more  nearly  approxi- 
mated by  the  amount  one  would  be  willing  to  give  to  be  rescued  from 
impending  death,  or  to  be  relieved  from,  urgent  and  intolerable  pain. 

I  would  express  the  opinion,  however,  that  the  sum  of  one  hundred 
thousand  dollars  proposed  by  the  Select  Committee  of  the  House  of  Re- 
presentatives as  a  compensation  to  the  inventor,  is  nothing  more  than 
a  fair  equivalent  for  the  immense  advantage  resulting  to  the  Govern- 
ment and  country  from  this  important  discovery. 

I  am,  very  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 

Chief  Bureau  of  Medicine  and  Surgery. 

Hon.  Wm.  a.  Graham,  Secretary  of  the  Navy. 

House  op  Representatives,  August  9,  1852. 

Sir  :  I  have  the  honor  to  transmit,  for  your  perusal,  a  printed  copy  of 
a  Report  agreed  upon  by  the  S^ect  Committee  of  the  House  of  Repre- 
sentatives, to  whom  was  referred  the  memorial  of  Doctor  Wm.  T.  G. 
Morton,  asking  remuneration  from  Congress  for  the  discovery  of  the 
anassthetic  properties  of  sulphuric  ether,  from  which  you  will  perceive 
that  the  Committee  have  determined  to  report  a  bill  appropriating  the 
Hum  of  $100,000  to  Doctor  Morton,  as  a  compensation  for  his  discovery, 
and  in  consideration  of  the  surrender  to  the  United  States  of  all  right 
and  interest  which  he  now  holds  in  that  discovery  in  virtue  of  letters 
patent  granted  to  him  by  this  government. 

There  is  every  disposition  on  the  part  of  the  House  to  favor  this  bill, 
and  its  many  friends  are  sanguine  of  its  passing  by  a  large  vote  if  it  can 
be  reached.  It  is  feared,  however,  from  the  recent  ruling  of  the  House, 
which  makes  it  out  of  order  to  append  amendments  to  the  regular  ap- 
propriation bills,  which  are  not  made  to  carry  out  previously  existing 
laws,  will  present  an  effectual  barrier  to  its  being  brought  up  in  that 
manner,  and  the  late  period  of  the  session  precludes  the  hope  that  it  can 
be  reached  in  the  ordinary  course  of  business. 

The  object  of  this  communication,  therefore,  is,  to  urge  upon  your 
consideration,  the  practicability  and  propriety  of  attaching  the  bill  above 
referred  to,  to  the  "army  appropriation  bill"  for  the  present  fiscal  year, 
when  the  same  shall  come  under  consideration  in  the  Committee  on 
Military  Affairs  of  the  Senate. 

Very  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 


Hon.  James  Shields,  Chairman  of  Committee  on  Military  Affairs, 
United  Stales  Senate. 


Upon  the  receipt  of  the  above  letter  the  subject  was  thoroughly  in- 
vestigated by  the  Military  Committee,  and  they  came  to  the  following 
conclusion : 

Resolution  of  the  Military  Committee. 

Resolved,  That  the  Committee  on.  Military  Affairs  of  the  Senate  re- 
port an  amendment  to  the  army  appropriation  bill  for  the  current  year,, 
appropiating  the  sum  of-  one  hundred  thousand  dollars  to  enable  the 
President  of  the  United  States  to  procure  the  surrender  of  the  patent  is- 
sued to  Dr.  William  T.  G.  Morton,  for  his  discovery  of  the  anesthetic 
properties  of  sulphuric  ether. — See  the  speeches  in  Appendix  of  Dr.  Bor- 
land and  Gen,  Shields,  members  of  said  Committee. 

The  subject  being  then  taken  under  consideration  by  the  Commitlee 
on  Naval  Affairs,  the  following  resolution  was  adopted  by  that  Commit- 
tee : 

Resolution  of  the  Naval  Committee. 

■  Resolved  by  the  Senate  Committee  on  Naval  Affairs,  That  the  said 
Committee  fully  concur  with  the  Committee  on  Military  Affairs  in  re- 
porting an  amendment  to  the  army  appropriation  bill,  appropriating 
one  hundred  thousand  dollars  to  enable  the  President  to  procure  th« 
surrender  of  the  patent  issued  to  Doctor  Wm,  T.  G.  Morton,  for  his  dis- 
covery of  the  anassthetic  properties  of  sulphuric  ether. — See  the  speeches 
in  Appendix  of  Dr.  Gwin,  Mr.  Badger,  and  Mr.  Mallory,  members  of 
said  Committee. 

In  pursuance  of  the  above  resolutions,  Dr?  Borland,  a  member  of  the 
Committee  on  Military  Affairs;  moved  the  following  amendment  to  the 
army  appropriation  bill,  to  come  in  after  122d  line: 

Amendment  to  the  Army  Appropriation  Bill. 

To  enable  the  President  of  the  United  States  to  procure  the  surrender 
of  the  patent  issued  to  William  T.  G.  Morton  on  the  1 2th  day  of  No- 
vember, 1846,  for  his  discovery  of  the  anaesthetic  properties  of  sulphuric 
ether,  one  hundred  thousand  dollars. 

Yeas— 17.    Nays— 26. 


lExtract  of  a  letter  from  John  Watson,  M.  D.] 

New  York  Hospital,  January  10,  1852. 
The  wonderful-  action  of  ether  and  the  other  anaesthetics  in  alleviat- 
ing suffering,  and  in  overcoming  spasm  and  muscular  resistance  du- 
ring the  most  protracted,  difficult,  and  delicate  surgical  membulations, 
is  sufficient  to  place  them  among  the  most  useful  discoveries  that  ever 
have  been  effected,  and  to  entitle  Mr.  Morton,  who  first  demonstrated  the 
ancBSthetic  properties  and  use  of  sulphuric  ether,  to  the  gratitude  of  his 
countrymen,  and  to  give  him  rank  among  the  h^ef actors  of  the  human 

I  remain,  with,  becoming  respect, 
George  Newbold,  Esq.  JNO.  WATSON. 

West  Point,  New  York,  February.  14,  1852. 

Both  ether  and  chloroform  are  used  as  aesthetic  agents  in  the  army. 
I  am,  sir,  very  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 

Hon.  W.  H.  BissELL,  Chairman,  <^c.  Surgeon  U.  S.  A, 

St.  Louis,  Mo.,  February  12,  1852. 

Ether  was  first  used  by  the  army  early  in  1847,  during  the  Mexican 
war,  more  particularly  on  General  Scott's  line ;  as  at  that  period  a 
complicated  and  fragile  inhalator  was  employed  for  its  use,  of  the  num- 
ber of  instruments  sent  to  the  army,  two,  intended  for  the  Rio  Grande 
line,  were  broken  in  the  transportation ;  hence  the  ether  was  little  used 
if  at  all  on  that  line.  The  chloroform  was  early  introduced  in  the  army, 
not  soon  enough  to  have  had  expeBi(fence  of  it  or  chloric  ether  during  the 
war.  It  is  now  one  of  the  principal  articles  of  our  medical  supplies,  and 
is  in  general  use. 

The  chloroform  is  as  highly  esteemed  by  the  medical  officers  of  the 
army  and  navy  as  by  the  surgeons  in  general  practice  ;  it  is  certainly 
an  inestimable  boon  to  suffering  humanity.  To  my  knowledge  no  im- 
pprtant  surgical  operation,  including  reduction  of  dislocations,  fractures, 
«&c.  is  performed  in  the  army  without  its  being  employed. 

I  have  the  honor  to  be,  very  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 

E.  H.  ABADIE, 

Asst.  Surgeon,  U.  S.  A. 

Hon.  W.  H.  BiesBLL,  Chairman,  ^c. 


Fort  Adams,  R.  I.,  February  10,  1852. 
I  have  no  doubt  their  effect  is  greatly  to  lessen  mortality  in  surgical 

Most  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 

Hon.  W.  H.  BissELL,  Chairman,  <^c.  Surgeon  U.  S.  A. 

"West  Point,  N.  Y.,  February  12,  1852." 
Says  it  was  introduced  into  the  Mexican  war.  "I  shall  consider  it  the 
greatest  boon  of  the  soldier. 

"Asst.  Surg,  U.  S.  Army.'" 

"Athens,  Georgia,  February  9,  1852. 
"I  reply,  that  in  the  Navy  of  the  United  States,  to  my  knowledge, 
both  ether  and  chloroform  are  used  as  anaesthetic  agents. 

"  That  the  discovery  is  of  American  origin  and  due  to  Dr.  Morton, 
seems  so  well  established  and  believed,  that  it  is  needless  for  me  to  add 
anything  on  this  head.  The  memory  of  such  a  man  should  be  written 
'  in  cerea  perenes ;'  and  it  would  reflect  honor  upon  his  country  to  re- 
ward his  labors  while  living.  Such  a  man  can  proudly  exclaim  with 
the  immortal  Tycho  Broke,  '  I  have  not  lived  in  vain.' 

''Asst.  Surg.  U.  S.  Army. 

"New  York,  January  3,  1852. 
"I  would  state  that  sulphuric  ether  and  tincture  of  chloroform  are 
gunong  the  medical  supplies  furnished  for  the  use  of  the  army. 

"  T.  G.  MOWER, 

"Surg.U.  S.  Army.'" 

"N-EW  York,  January  31,  1852. 
"Chloroform  and  sulphuric  ether  are,  I  believe,  furnished  generally  to 
the  army.    *    *    *    The  effeet  of  these  agents  is  wonderful  and  most 
valuable  in  lessening  pain  and  suffering. 


"Asst.  Surg.  U.  S.  Army'' 

"  Philadelphia, /anwary  27,  1852. 
"  And  so  far  as  my  observation  extends,  (having  witnessed  a  larg« 
number  of  most  painful  operations  under  the  influence  of  ether,)  I  can 
but  consider  the  discovery  of  the  properties  of  these  agents,  as  the  greatest 
boon  that  poor  suffering  humanity  has  ever  received. 


"Surgeon  U.  S.  Armt/.'' 


"Fort  Washington,  Indiana,  Januarij  27, 1852. 
"  Medical  officers  are  supplied  with  Chloroform  for  the  use  of  the 
armv        *       *       *       I  have  used  it  myself. 


"Surgeon  U.  S.  Army.^' 

"Germantown,  January  26,  1852. 
"Some  of  these  agents  are  always  added  to  the  requisitions  of  medi- 
eal  surgeons. 

0.  J.  WESTER, 
"Asst.  Surgeon  U.  S.  Army." 

"Fort  Moultrie,  Charleston  Harbor,  S.  C,  February  19,  1852. 
"Sulphuric  ether  was  used  in  the  General  Hospital  at  Vera  Cruz, 
Mexico,  in  the  summer  of  1847, 1  had  charge  of  that  hospital. 

"  J.  B.  PORTER,  M.  D., 

"  Surgeon  U.  S.  ^rmy." 

"  Plattsburgh  Barracks,  N.  Y. 
"  I  have  used  ether,  as  before  stated,  for  many  years. 

"  Asst.  Surg.  U.  S.  Army:" 

Jefferson  Barracks,  Mo. 
C.  A.  Finley,  Surgeon  U.  S.  Armj^  uses  it  and  says  :    "  As  an  alle- 
viator of  human  suffering,  I  consider  it  the  most  important' discovery 
that  has  been  made  since  the  days  of  Jenner." 

Fort  Meade,  Florida. 
Jona.  Letturman,  assistant  surgeon  U.  S.  army,  says  he  uses  them  in 
"  diseases  involving  the  nervous  system — in  allaying  the  vomiting  of 
an  irritable  stomach — in  cramp  colic — and  in  delirium  tremens.  Its 
administration  in  all  was  followed  by  complete  relief.  In  a  case  oT 
delirium  tremens,  in  which  all  the  ordinary  remedies  were  used  Vvithout 
effect,  I  attribute  the  saving  the  patient's  life  to  the  administration  of 

FcjRT  ScoTT,  Missouri. 
Jos.  K.  Barnes,  assistant  surgeon  U.  S.  army,  says,  "  both  ether  and 
ehloroform  have  been,  and  continue  to  be,  used  as  ansesthetic  agents  by 
myself  and  others  in  army  practice.  The  use  of  chloroform,  under  my 
immediate  notice,  has  been  confined  to  its  anassthetic  effects  during 
surgical  operations  of  some  magnitude,  in  which  freedom  from  pain  on 
the  part  of  the  patient  was  considered  conducive  to  safety  and  celerity 
in  operating.    No  medical  officer  is  likely  to  be  without  them." 


Fort  Dodge,  Iowa. 
Charles  C.  Keeney,  assistant  surgeon  U.  S.  army,  says  "ether  and 
chloroform  are  both  used  as  anaesthetic  agents  in  the  army.  They  are 
used  to  a  great  extent  in  neuralgic  diseases,  and  in  amputations  of  the 
extremities,  and  extirpation  of  various  tumors — all  with  remarkable 
good  effect  in  annulling  sensation  and  voluntary  motion.  Where  I  have 
been  stationed  they  have  been  used  to  a  great  extent." 

Fort  Ripley,  Minnesota  Territory. 

J.  Frazier  Head,  asst.  surgeon  U.  S.  army,  uses  them,  and  says,  "  as  in 
many  important  operations  in  surgery  the  nervous  shock,  resulting  from 
the  pain  ejtperienced,  is  an  element  of  great  importance  in  determining 
the  issue  of  the  case,  an  agent  which  removes  this  element  with  com- 
parative safety,  and  no  bad  influence  to  counterbalance  this  advantage, 
cannot  fail  to  diminish  the  mortality  attendant  upon  such  operations." 

U.  S.  Naval  Hospital,  Portsmouth,  Va. 

N.  C.  Barrabino,  surgeon,  U.  S.  navy,  says  ether  and  chloroform  is 
used  both  in  the  army  and  navy,  and  is  decidedly  of  the  opinion  that  their 
use  lessens  mortality. 

Fort  McIntosh,  Loredo,  Texas. 

G.  Pierce,  assistant  surgeon  U.  S.  army,  uses  them,  and  says,  "  I  am  in- 
clined to  form  a  very  high  opinion  of  chloroform  as  a  remedial  agent." 

Fort  Webster,  New  Mexico,  May  27,  1852. 

Sir  :  It  gives  me  pleasure,  in  compliance  with  your  request,  to  en- 
close to  you  the  accompanying  table.    My  experience  in  the  larger 
amputations  is,  you  will  perceive,  small,  but  favorable  in  the  highest  de- 
gree to  the  good  effects  of  etherization.    Wishing  you  success, 
I  am,  very  respectfully,  your  obedient  .servant, 


Asst.  Surgeon  U.  S.  A. 

Dr.  W.  T.  G.  Morton,  Washington,  D.  C. 

"Fort  Duncan,  Texas. 

"All  my  experience  regarding  anfesthetic  agents  has  been'in  parturi- 
tion-, and  I  can  assure  you  that  the  effect  has  always  exceeded  my  most 
.  sanguine  hopes.  "GEO.  E.  COOPER, 

"Asst.  Surgeon  U.  S,  A* 


Baltimore,  February  2,  1852. 

That  the  discovery  of  an  agent  which  assuages  or  annihilates  the  se- 
vere p^in  often  experienced  in  diseases,  necessarily  inflicted  to  a  greater 
or  less  degree,  in  operations  on  the  human  body,  and,  generally,  incident 
to  the  condition  of  the  female  in  the  act  parturition  should,  at  the  very 
first  blush,  commend  itself  to  the  acceptance  of  all  mankind ;  and  that 
the  discoverer  of  such  an  agent  should  be  regarded  as  having  conferred 
the  highest  earthly  boon  on  afflicted  humanity ;  are  propositions  too  ob- 
vious to  need  the  slightest  argument  to  enforce  them. 

Whether  ether  or  chloroform  is  used  in  the  army  for  anaesthetic  pur- 
poses I  have  no  means  of  knowing,  but  it  is  certainly  so  used  in  the 
practice  of  the  Navy. 

I  am,  sir,  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 

J.  BEALE,  M.  D. 

To  Hon.  W.  H.  Bissell,  Chairman,  SfC.  Surgeon  U.  S.  N. 

Naval  Rendezvous,'  New  York,  February  7,  1852. 
By  most  of  the  medical  profession  these  agents  are  highly  appreciated, 
and  it  is  believed  that  Mr.  Morton,  who  made  public  his  discovery  of 
the  anaethestic  power  of  ether,  is  deserving  a  public  reward. 
I  have  the  honor  to  be,  very  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 

Hon.  W.  H.  Bissell,  Chairman,  ^c.  Surgeon,  U.  S.  N. 

"Erie,  Penn.,  January  30,  1852 
"I  should  hold  myself  bound  to  use  sometimes  the  one,  sometimes  ths 
other,  in  various  conditions  of  disease  and  injury. 


"Surgeon  U.  S.  Navy^ 

"Norfolk,  February,  4,  1852. 
"Chloroform  or  sulphuric  ether  are  used,  in  the  naval  service  as  an 
anaathetic  agent. 

"  They  are  principally  used,  in  the  naval  service,  to  lessen  pain,  and 
enable  a  timid  or  excitable  patient  lo  undergo  an  operation. 


"Surgeon  U.  S.  Navy." 

"  Philadelpiua. 

"That  they  are  used  in  the  army  and  navy.  I  think  they  diminish 
mortality.  "DANIEL  EGBERT, 

"  Surgeon  U.  S.  Navy." 

"  Philadelphia. 

"I  have  used  chloroform  as  an  anajsthetic  agent  in  my  practice  in  the 

"J.  HOPKINSON,  U.  S.  N.» 



"  U.  S.  Snip  Pennsylvania,  Norfolk,  Va. 
D.  B.  Phillips,  Assistant  Surgeon  U.  S.  Navy,  uses  them,  and  speaks 
of  them  in  the  highest  terms. 

"  Annapolis,  Md. 

"My  experience  has  been  as  yet,  limited  to  some  sixteen  surgical 
cases.  In  preventing  the  sufferings  of  surgical  operations,  I  consider 
chloric  ether  entitled  to  rank  as  the  crowning  medical  discovery  of  the 
day.  The  cases  in  which  I  used  it,  were  for  the  removal  of  cancerous 
breasts  and  large  tumors,  situated  in  delicate  parts.  I  should  strenuosly 
recommend  its  introduction  on  board  of  our  vessels  of  war. 


"  Surgeon  U.  S.  Navy.'' 

"  U.  S.  Naval  Hospital,  Chelsea. 
"  They  are  both  used  as  anaesthetic  agent  in  the  navv. 


-  "  U.  S.  Navy." 

"  U.  S.  Ship  Pennsylvania,  Norfolk,  Va. 
"  Chloroform  is  used  in  the  navy.    Its  use  has  been  confined  to  ampu- 
tations and  other  painful  and  protracted  surgical  operations,  and  with 
decided  benefit. 


"  Asst.  Surgeon  U.  S.  Navy." 

"  Philadelphia. 

"  Ether  and  chloroform  are  both  employed  as  anaesthetic  agents  in  the 
U.  S.  Navy.    Diminish  mortality  in  a  very  notable  proportion. 


P.  A.  Surgeon  U.  S.  Navy." 

"U.  S.  Navy  Yard,  GospoRT,  Va. 
"  Samuel  Barrington,  Surgeon  U.  S.  N.  says  they  are  used  in  the  army 
and  navy." 

"  U.  S.  Steam  Frigate  San  Jacinto,  Gosport,  Va. 
"I  have  witnessed  the  use  of  ether  and  chloroform  as  anEesthetic 
agents  in  the  navy.    These  agents  have  been  very  generally  employed 
in  a  great  variety  of  cases,  and  with  favorable  effect. 

"Passed  Ass't  Surgeo7i,  U.  S.  Navy." 


"U.  S.  Naval  Rendezvous,  Boston,  January  30,  1852. 
"I  have  seen  chloroform  used  in  the  Navy.    *    *    *    I  would  use  it 
in  all  surgical  operations  when  it  was  desirable  to  prevent  pain. 

"  GEO.  MALTSBY,  U.  S.  iV." 

"  U.  S.  Marine  Hospital,  St.  Louis. 
"  My  impression  is,  that  they  are  used  in  the  army  and  navy  to  a  con- 
siderable extent,  my  impression  being  derived  from  an  acquaintance 
with  many  of  the  medical  statF  of  those  ^ranches  of  the  public  service, 
from  their  publications  in  the  medical  journals  of  the  country,  and  from 
their  known  disposition  to  keep  pace  with  the  progress  of  science.  They 
are  regarded  as  one  of  the  greatest  gifts  that  science  could  lay  on  the 
altar  of  humanity.  They  have  now  been  used  on  perhaps  millions  of 
persons,  indiscriminately,  in  both  hemispheres. 

«CHAS.  A.  POPE,  C/".  S.  iV." 

"U.  S.  Marine  Hospital,  New  Orleans,  Feh.  17,  1852. 
"  As  regards  the  use  of  ansesthetic  agents,  we  have  invariably  em- 
ployed chloroform  in  operations;  also  for  perineal  section,  for  stricture 
of  the  urethra,  and  minor  surgery,  without  any  unpleasant  results,  and 
I  think  with  more  favorable  convalesence. 

"P.  B.  McKELVEY, 
"Principal  Physician  and  SurgeonJ" 

Dr.  J.  H.  Hopkinson,  U.  S.  navy,  uses  chloroform. 

Wm.  Lowber,  U.  S.  navy,  says  ether  and  chloroform  is  used. 

John  H.  Wright,  passed  assistant  surgeon  U.  S.  navy,  uses  them. 

D.  B.  Phillips,  assistant  surgeon  U.  S.  navy,  has  used  them. 

John  L.  Fox,  surgeon  U.  S.  Naval  Hospital,  Chelsea,  says  he  has  used 

John  L.  Eurtt;  U.  S.  N.,  U.  S.  Naval  Hospital,  N.  Y.,  uses  chloroform. 

Geo.  Blacknall,  surg.  U.  S.  N.,  Norfolk,  Va.,  says  they  are  usedw 

Wm.  A.  Nelson,  M.  D.,  U.  S.  navy,  says  it  is  used  in  the  navy. 

D.  S.  Edwards,  surgeon  U.  S.  navy,  says  ether  and  chloroform  are  used 
in  the  navy. 

Charles  S.  Tripler,  surgeon  U.  S.  A.,  Fort  Gratiot,  Mich.,  uses  them. 
R.  0.  Wood,  surgeon  U.  S.  A.,  says  it  has  been  used  in  the  army. 


A.  S.  Wotherspoon,  assistant  surgeon  U.  S.  army— Surgeon  General's 
Office — bears  testimony  to  its  high  value. 

Josiah  Simpson,  assistant  surgeon  U.  S.  army,  Fort  Wood  New  York 
Harbor,  uses  ether.  .  ' 

Dr.  Macklin,  assistant  surgeon,  U.  S.  army,  uses  ether. 

L.  D.  Williams,  Havre  de  Grace,  says  senesthetic  agents  are  used. 

Ebenezer  Swift,  surgeon  U.^.,  Fort  Martin  Scott,  Texas,  uses  anajs- 
thetic  agents. 

Dr.  J.  N.  Schoolfield,  Marine  Hospital,  Norfolk,  Va.,  uses  aneesthetic 

Dr.  Henry  S.  Leveret,  U.  S.  Marine  Hospital,  Mobile,  uses  anaesthe- 
tic agents. 

Dr.  William  Ingalls,  U.  S.  Marine  Hospital,  Chelsea,  Massachusetts, 
uses  anaesthetic  agents. 

Dr.^M.  L.  Hewitt,  U.  S.  Marine  Hospital,  Cleaveland,  Ohio,  uses  them. 

Alexander  H.  Hassier,  Texas,  assisstant  surgeon  U.  S.  army,  uses 
anaesthetic  agents. 

Thomas  H.  Williams,  assistant  surgeon  U.  S,  army.  Fort  North, 
Texas,  speaks  highly  of  them.  . 

T.  C.  Madison,  U.  S.  army,  uses  anaesthetic  agents. 

\_Extract  of  a  letter  Jrom  Henry  J.  Bowditch,  Physician  of  the  Massa- 
chusetts Genej-al  Hospital.'\ 

Boston,  January  4,  1852. 
I  presume  that  the  discovery  of  the  anaesthetic  properties  of  ether,  and 
its  practical  applicatio7i  to  medicine,  will  take  a  rank  quite  equal  to  that 
of  vaccination.  To  no  one  does  the  world  owe  so  much  for  this  practi- 
cal application,  as  to  Dr.  Morton.  In  fact  I  am  fully  convinced  that 
had  it  not  been  for  the  boldness  of  that  gentleman,  the  world  to  the  pre- 
sent hoier  would  have  been  ignorant  of  these  peculiar  adaptations  of 
ether  to  alleviate  human  suffering.  1  say  boldness  noic.  in  former 
times,  however,  I  said  rashness ;  for  I  believe  I  may  say,  without  fear  of 
contradiction,  that  the  medical  profession,  as  a  body,  would  have  feared 
death  as  the  result,  from  experiments  such  as  are  now  made  daily  with- 
out the  least  fear.  Dr.  Morton  has  convinced  us  from  error.  Doubtless 
he  received  suggestions  from  other  similar  experiments,  made  by  several 
individuals,  but 'to  his  indomitable  perseverance  do  we,  fnally  owe  all 
the  essential  good  which  the  discoverer  has  bestowed  on  man. 


I  hope  therefore  that  Dr.  Morton  will  receive  a  tribute  of  respect  from 
Congress,  that  shall  be  commensurate  with  the  great  benefits  that  he 
has  bestowed  upon  the  nation. 

I  remain,  very  respectfully,  yours, 

Hon.  W.  H.  BissELL.  HENRY.  I.  COWDITCH. 

[Extract  of  a  letter  from  Henry  J.  Bigeloio,  Professor  in  Harvard  Uni- 
versity, and  Surgeon  in  Massachusetts  General  Hosjntal.'] 

Boston,  January  3,  1852. 
I  trust  that  Dr.  Morton  will  now  at  last  receive  a  substantial  and 
liberal  return  for  his  discovery,  that  ether  can  annul  pain;  1.  with 
safety — with  less  risk,  for  example,  than  everybody  daily  encounters 
either  in  walking  or  riding;    2.  with  certainty,  in  every  case. 
I  have  the  honor  to  be,  respectfully,  your  obt.  servant, 


W.  H.  BissELL,  Chairman,  ^c. 

\_Extract  of  a  letter  from  James  Jachson,  M.  D.,  Professor  Emeritus  of 
Theory  and  Practice  of  Physic  in  the  University  at  Cambridge,  Honor- 
ary Member  of  the  Royal  Medico- Chirurgical  Society  of  London,  ^c] 

Boston,  January  5,  1852. 
I  have,  nevertheless,  watched  the  new  use  of  ether  and  chloroform 
with  great  interest  from  the  first  annunciation  of  this  discovery  by  Dr. 
Morton ;  and  I  will  say,  in  general,  that  it  would  be  difiicult  to  exagge- 
rate the  benefits  of  these  anaesthetic  agents. 

The  great  and  undoubted  benefits  of  ether  we  sho'^n  in  surgical  and 
obstetric  practice ;  and  I  believe  these  are  such  as  to  entitle  the  dis- 
coverer of  its  good  effects,  when  employed  by  inhalation,  to  a  very 
large  reward. 

I  am,  sir,  very  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 


Hon,  W.  H.  BissELL. 

In  a  communication  to  the  former  committee  of  the  House,  Dr.  Jack- 
son says : 

"  In  my  opinion  Dr.  Morton  is  entitled  to  a  grant  from  Congress,  for 
the  Ether  discovery,  more  than  any  and  all  other  persons  in  the  world." 

\_Extract  of  a  letter  from  Richard  Girdler,  M.  D.] 

Boston,  January  27,  1852. 

I  w;as  present  at  those  operations  when  ether  was  first  administered 
at  the  hospital;  saw  its  effects  with  admiration  and  astonishment,  and 
am  witness  to  its  successful  application  almost  every  day  ;  and  hope 
the  committee  will  report  favorably  upon  the  just  claims  of  Wm.  T.  G. 


Morton,  who  I  believe  is  entitled  to  the  merit  of  the  discovery  and 
consequently  should  receive  a  fitting  rew^ard.  ' 
Very  respectfully,  sir,  your  obedient  servant, 

Superintendent  Massachusetts  General  Ilosnital. 
Hon.  W.  H.  BissELL.         •  ^ 

{Extract  of  a  letter  from  George  Hayward,  M.  D.,  Professor  of  Harvard 
University,  and  Surgeon  in  Massacliueetts  General  Hospital.'] 

Boston,  Janua)'y  8,  1852. 
I  cannot  close  this  letter  without  saying,  that  I  regard  sulphuric  ether, 
the  agent  first  used  by  Dr.  Morton,  as  by  far  the  best  anaesthetic  agent[ 
that  I  believe  the  world  are  indebted  to  him  for  its  introduction  into 
practice  by  proving  by  actual  experiment  what  was  not  before  known 
or  generally  believed,  that  it  could  be  inhaled  with  safety. 

I  certainly  regard  this  discovery  as  one  of  the  greatest  of  the  age, 
and  think  that  Dr.  Morton  is  entitled  to  a  liberal  grant  from  our  coun- 
try for  the  benefit  that  he  has  conferred  on  the  human  race. 
I  am,  with  much  respect,  your  obedient  servant. 


Hon.  W.  H.  BissELL. 

^     {Extract  of  a  letter  from  Thomas  P.  Jackson.] 

Boston,  February  4,  1852. 

I  consider  the  discovery  and  introduction  of  sulphuric  ether  as  an 
anaesthetic  agent  to  be  second  to  no  discovery  in  medical  science,  not 
even  to  the  discovery  of  vaccination,  and  that  we  are  solely  indebted 
for  its  introduction  by  Doct.  Wm.  T.  G.  Morton. 

My  opinion  is  that  no  compensation  Congress  can  confer  on  Dr. 
Morton  will  equal  his  deserts,  and  I  really  hope  that  for  once  a  deserv- 
ing man  may  receive  his  recompense  during  his  life,  instead  of  having 
a  monument  erected  over  his  grave.  I  would  say,  in  conlusion,  that  I 
have  not  the  slightest  acquaintance  with  Doct.  Morton,  and  that  I  be- 
lieve it  is  the  general  wish  of  the  profession  in  this  vicinity  that  Doct. 
Morton  shall  receive  some  remuneration  for  the  benefits  he  has  con- 
ferred on  suffering  humanity. 

Yours  respectfully, 

THOS.  P.  JACKSON,  M.  D. 

.  Hon.  Wm.  H.  Bissell. 

[Extract  of  a  letter  from  Dr.  Putnam.] 

Boston,  February  14, 1852. 
In  regard  to  the  estimate  in  which  I  hold  it,  (ether,)  I  cannot  perhaps 
give  a  more  satisfactory  proof,  than  by  stating  that,  immediately  after 
niy.fe  st  experiments,  I  insisted  on  Dr.  Morton's  acceptance  of  a  small 


sum  of  money  in  acknowledgment  of  my  personal  obligation  to  Bim, 
and  as  an  earnest  of  what  I  considered  to  be  his  due  from  the  whole 

With  great  respect,  I  am  yours, 

To  the  Committee.  OHAS.  G.  PUTNAM,  M.  D. 

{Extract  of  a  letter  from  Augustus  A.  Gould,  M.  D.] 

Boston,  January  15,  1852. 

I  cannot  but  hope  that  Congress  will  do  something  noble  in  this  case. 
Other  nations  have  already  bestowed  honors  and  emoluments  upon  those 
they  have  deemed  entitled  in  testimonial  of  their  appreciation  of  this, 
the  greatest  boon  which  has  yet  been  granted  to  the  keenest  sufferings 
of  mankind.  And  it  is  not  seemly  that  our  own  nation  should  pass  by 
in  silence  one  of  the  greatest  and  most  universally  applicable  discoveries 
which  the  world  can  boast  of  The  person  or  persons  instrumental  in 
bestowing  it  deserve  substantial  reward. 

I  have  happened  to  know  every  step  in  the  early  introduction  of  the 
use  of  ether  as  an  anaesthetic  agent.  And  I  am  familiar  with  the  odi- 
um, the  denunciations,  and  the  persecutions,  and  threatened  persecu- 
tions which  were  so  liberally  showered  at  its  introduction.  They  came 
from  honest  men,  whose  experience  had  led  them  to  apprehend  serious 
danger.  But  with  firmness  of  purpose,  disregard  of  threats,  and  no  lack 
or  stint  of  expense,  the  demonstration  was  soon  complete,  and  all  ra- 
tional opposition  has  long  since  been  silent;  and  now  it  is  not  only  a 
subject  for  national  pride  and  national  gratitude,  but  it  commands  and 
receives  the  gratitude  of  the  world. 

Very  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 

Hon.  W.  H.  BissELL.  AUGUSTUS  A.  GOULD. 

{Extract  of  a  letter  from  Albion  S.  Dudley,  M.  DJ] 

Boston,  February  3,  1852. 

Dr.  Morton  certainly  was  the  first  in  this  city  to  reveal  the  anassthetic 
effects  of  the  sulphuric  ether  to  the  public,  and  successfully  introduce  it 
into  the  Massachusetts  Medical  College,  to  my  certain  knowledge. 

J  have  the  honor  to  be,  yours  respectfully, 

To  the  Hon.  W.  H.  Bissell.  ALBION  S.  DUDLEY. 

{Extract  of  a  letter  from  A.  L.  Peirson,  M.  DJ] 

Salem,  January  17,  1852. 
I  have  toiled  through  five  and  thirty  years  of  medical,  and  especially 
surgical  practice,  in  a  dense  population,  during  most  of  the  time  in  con- 
scious need  of  some  paiu-destroying  remedy,  and  I  hail  the  discovery  of 
the  application  of  the  properties  of  ether  with  devout  gratitude  to  a 
beneficient  Creator,  who  has  vouchsafed  such  a  blessing  to  suffering  hu- 
manity ;  and  with  sincere  thankfulness  to  Dr.  Morton  as  being  the  eflfcient 


and  fortunate  agent,  by  whose  means  it  has  been  placed  in  the  hands  of 
the  medical  profession.  For  although  the  inhalation  of  ether,  to  produce 
intoxication,  may  not  have  been  a  new  idea  previous  to  October,  184G 
j^et  Dr.  Morton,  at  that  time,  partially  demonstrated  its  safety,  utility,  and 
applicability,  in  making  surgical  operations  painless,  and  was  the'pro- 
curing  cause  of  its  being  now  employed  by  all  classes  of  medical  prac- 
tioners,  in  taking  away  that  dread  of  human  nature — pain. 

I  have  the  honor  to  subscribe  myself,  very  respectfully, 
Hon.  W.  H.  BissELL.  A.  L.  PEIRSON. 

[Letter  from  J.  F.  May,  Professor  of  Surgery  National  Medical  College, 


Washington,  February  10,  1852. 
Sir  :  I  have  received  your  circular  requesting  of  me  an  answer  to  the 
following  inquiries: 

1st.  Is  ether  or  chloroform  used  as  an  anaesthetic  agent  in  your  Insti- 
tution ? 

2d.  If  used,  to  M'hat  extent,  in  what  classes  of  diseases,  or  of  opera- 
tions, and  with  what  effect? 

3d.  What,  in  your  opinion,  is  their  effect  in  diminishing  mortality? 

4th.  To  what  extent,  in  what  classes  of  cases,  and  with  what  result 
are  they  used  in  private  practice  in  your  vicinity? 

5th.  In  what  appreciation  are  they  held  by  the  medical  faculty  within 
your  knowledge  ? 

I  reply : 

1st.  Chloric  ether  is  always  used  by  me  and  my  colleagues,  as  an 
anaesthetic  agent  in  every  operation^of  any  importance,  that  is  performed 
in  the  Washington  Infirmary,  of  which  institution  I  am  one  of  the 

2d.  For  more  than  three  years  I  have  constantly  used  it,  both  in  hos- 
pital and  in  private  practice,'and  it  has  never  in  a  single  instance,  dis- 
appointed me  in  producing  insensibility  to  pain,  and  I  have  never  found 
its  administration  to  be  attended  or  followed  by  any  serious  result.  I 
have  given  it  at  all  ages,  from  the  tender  infant  to  the  old  and  infirm 
man,  and  from  a  few  moments  to  more  than  an  hour  at  a  time.  I  have 
performed  under  its  influence  many  of  the  most  important  and  capital 
operations  of  surgery ;  among  which  I  may  mention  lithotomy,  strangu- 
lated hernia,  the  removal  of  tumors  from  various  regions,  the  different 
amputations  of  both  the  upper  and  lower  extremities,  from  the  removal 
of  a  finger  to  disarticulation  of  the  hip  joint,  &c. 

3d.  I  am  perfectly  convinced  that  the  use  of  anaesthetic  agents  has 
greatly  diminished  the  mortality  of  surgical  operations,  and  I  am  pre- 
pared to  say  further,  that  I  would  almost  as  soon  think  of  amputating  a 
limb  without  previously  compressing  its  principal  artery,  as  to  perform 
a  difiicult  and  dangerous  operation  without  first  putting  the  patient  in 
an  an£Esthetic  state.  I  consider  it,  in  fact,  so  important  an  element  to 
the  success  of  the  surgeon  in  severe  and  formidable  operations,  by  pre- 
venting all  shock  to  the  system,  that  I  think  he  ought  to  decline  any 
operation  of  magnitude  and  danger,  should  he  meet  with  a  refusal  on 
the  part  of  the  patient  to  be  subjected  to  its  influence.    But  fortunateU 


there  are  few  who  are  not  only  willing,  but  anxious  to  be  soothed  by  the 
magic  spell  which,  to  the  victim,  robs  surgery*of  nearly  all  its  terrors, 
and  to  the  surgeon  brings  pleasure,  from  the  knowledge  that  he  inflicts 

no  pain.  ,  .... 

4th.  I  believe  that  all  important  surgical  operations  m  private  prac- 
tice in  this  vicinity,  are  performed  under  anaesthetic  influence,  and  with 
the  results  that  I  have  already  mentioned. 

5th.  I  believe  that  the  medical  faculty  throughout  the  civilized  world, 
where  anaesthesia  has  been  introduced,  consider  it  to  be  one  of  the 
greatest  boons  that  has  ever  been  given  to  suffering  man  ;  and  believing 
i)r.  Morton  to  be  its  discoverer,  I.  trust  he  will  receive  from  the  Govern- 
ment a  compensation  commensurate  with  the  immense  benefit  it  has 
conferred  upon  the  human  race. 

I  have  the  honor  to  be,  very  respectfully,  &c., 

Hon.  W.  H.  BissELL.  JNO.  FRED'K  MAY. 

[Extract  of  a  letter  from  Alex.  H.  Steevens,  M.  D.] 

New  York,  January  5,  1852. 
Without  the  slightest  knowledge  of  Dr.  Morton,  or  of  any  one  con- 
nected, or  claiming  to  be  connected  with  this  discovery,  and  without  as- 
suming that  he  is  mainly  the  discoverer,  which  yet  I  believe,  I  take  leave 
to  state  that  'the  claims  of  scientific  discoverers  to  reward  is-a  strong 
one.  , 

The  community  is  taxed  by  patent  rights  for  inventions  to  the  amount 
of  many  millions  annually.  The  men  of  science  paying  themselves  a  part 
of  these  taxes,  and  bringing  to  light,  by  their  unpaid  labors,  scientific 
discoveries  from  which  these  inventions  in  a  great  measure  take  their 
rise,  are  left  entirely,  in  this  country,  without  any  reward  whatsoever. 
In  Europe  they  are  rewarded,  besides  that  they  are  supported  by  sala- 
ries attached  to  their  membership  of  scientific  institutions. 

In  view  of  these  considerations,  and  looking  not  only  to  what  is  just 
as  between  science  and  government,  but  what  is,  in  a  very  high  degree 
and  altogether  beyond  the  appreciation  of  unlearned  men,  expedient,  as 
respects  the  interest  of  the  government,  liberal  rewards  should  be  given 
for  unpatented  discoveries. 

With  very  great  respect,  I  am,  very  truly,  your  obedient  servant, 

The  Hon.  W.  H.  Bissell.  ALEX.  H.  STEEVENS. 

P.  S.  From  an  official  connection  with  the  three  great  hospitals  in  this 
city,  embracing  about  3,000  patients,  I  am  enabled  to  state  that  anaas- 
thelic  agents  are  generally  used  in  puerperal  cases,  in  painful  chronic 
diseases,  in  the  reduction  of  fractures  and  dislocations,  and  in  other  cap- 
ital surgical  operations,  many  of  which  are  rendered  more  successful, 
and  not  a  few  only  practicable  by  their  use.  I  consider  it  the  greatest 
discovery  in  medicine  since  that  of  Jenner.  It  is  to  the  healing  art,  what 
steam  navigation,  electro-magnetism,  and  railroad  travelling,  are  to  com- 
mercial and  social  communications. 

A.  H.  S. 



[Extract  of  a  letter  from  Hugh  H.  McGuire,  M.  D.] 

Winchester,  Va. 

I  regard  the  discovery  of  anaesthetic  agents  the  most  important  dis- 
covery made  in  Surgery  for  the  last  century.  It  is  also  entirely  Ameri- 
can, for  although  attempts  have  been  made  for  a  long  time  to  destroy 
sensibility  to  Surgical  operations,  no  approximation  was  made  to  it, 
until  it  was  discovered  in  Boston,  that  sulphuric  ether  would  produce 
total  insensibility.  Now  it  has  been  the  practice  in  all  enlightened 
countries  to  reward  important  discoveries  in  a  very  liberal  manner,  I  do 
hope  that  an  American  Congress  will  not  fail  to  follow  the  example. 
The  use  of  these  agents  have  become  so  common  and  general  through- 
out Europe,  that  a  late  distinguished  Professor,  of  Philadelphia,  during 
a  visit  to  Europe,  was  constantly  asked,  if  it  was  possible  any  Surgeons 
in  America  could  be  found  opposed  to  them,  I  have  no  hesitation  in 
stating  that  not  only  is  pain  avoided,  but  many  lives  saved  by  their  use, 
for  the  nervous  shock,  in  consequence  of  serious  operations,  not  unfre- 
quently  ends  in  death.    This  is  avoided  by  anaesthesia       *       *  * 

It  would  be  just  and  proper  to  make  him  a  liberal  pension  for  it.  It 
would  not  only  be  an  incentive  and  stimulus  to  further  discoveries  in 
this  extensive  field  of  science,  but  redound  to  the  credit  of  the  Govern- 
ment, here  and  abroad. 

Very  truly,  your  friend. 

Hon.  Chas.  J.  Faulkner.  Prof.  Surgery. 

Jacob  Bigelow,  M.  D.,  President  of  the  Academy  of  Arts  and  Sciences, 
Professor  in  Harvard  University,  and  Physician  to  Massachusetts  Gene- 
ral Hospital,  in  a  letter  to  Hon.  W.  H.  Bissell,  says: 

"  It  is  considered  by  myself,  and  by  the  more  intelligent  part  of  my 
medical  friends,  as  the  most  important  medical  discovery  of  the  present 

In  an  article  published  in  the  Medical  and  Surgical  Journal  of  July 
7,  1847,  he  says: 

"  In  the  case  of  Dr.  Jackson,  if  he  did  make  the  discovery  in  1842,  as 
asserted,  or  even  later,  he  stands  accountable  for  the  mass  of  human 
misery  which  he  has  permitted  his  fellow^creatures  to  undergo,  from  the 
time  when  he  made  his  discovery,  to  the  time  when  Dr.  Morton  made 
his.  In  charity,  we  prefer  to  believe,  that,  up  to  the  latter  period,  he 
had  no  definite  notion  of  the  real  power  of  ether  in  surgery,  having  seen 
no  case  of  its  application  in  that  science." 

{Letter  from  Professor  Simpson,  the  discoverer  of  Chloroform.'] 

Edinburgh,  Novettiher  19,  1847. 

My  Dear  Sir  :  I  have  much  pleasure  in  offering,  for  your  kind  accept- 
ance, the  accompanying  pamphlet.  Since  it  was  published  we  have  had 
various  other  operations  performed  here,  equally  successful,  i  i^^ve  a 
note  from  Mr.  Listen,  telling  me  also  of  its  perfect  success  m  London. 
Its  rapidity  and  depth  are  amazing. 


In  the  Monthhj  Journal  of  Medical  Science  for  September  I  have  a  long 
article  on  etherization,  vindicating  your  claims  over  those  of  Jackson. 

Of  course,  the  great  thought  is  that  of  producing  insensilnlity ;  and 
for  that  the  world  is,  I  think,  indebted  to  you. 

I  read  a  paper  lately  to  our  society,  showing  that  it  was  recomnTended 
by  Pliny,  &c.,  in  old  tioies.. 

With  very  great  esteem  for  you,  allow  me  to  subscribe  myselt, 

Yours  very  faithfully, 


Dr.  W.  T.  G.  Morton. 

[Extract  of  a  letter  from  J.  Parkman,  M.  D.,  of  Boston.'] 
Life  may  alsq,  be  saved  from  the  more  ready  submission  of  the  pa- 
tients to  necessary  operations,  since  they  can  be  assured  that  they  are 
painless.    And  inasmuch  as  pain  and  spasm  do  destroy  life,  it  is  fair  to 
presume  that  agents  relieving  these  must  diminish  mortality.^ 

In  private  practice  in  this  city  anaesthetic  agents  are  in  universal  use 
in  all  surgical  operations,  and  also  in  all  the  operations  of  midwifery. 
They  are  in  quite  general  use  in  all  diseases  requiring  an  antidote  to 
pain  and  spasm,  as  one  of  the  means  to  allay  them,  and  some  practition- 
ers use  them  in  all  cases  of  child-birth. 

-  I  remain,  very  respectfullj% 

J.  PARKMAN,  • 
One  of  the  Surgeons  of  the  Mass.  Gen.  Hospital. 

Hon  W.  H.  BissELL. 

[Extract  of  a  letter  from  S.  D.  Townsend,  M.  D.,  of  Bosto7i.'] 

It  has  been  used  almost  daily  for  diseases  of  a  spasmodic  and  painful 
character,  and  in  all  surgical  operations,  with  the  effect  of  relieving 
pain  and  annihilating  perfectly  all  suffering  in  surgical  operations.  I 
believe  it  diminishes  mortality,  by  relieving  spasmodic  diseases,  and 
preventing  the  severe  shock  of  surgical  operations.  In  private  practice 
it  has  been  used  to  the  same  extent,  and  in  the  same  classes  of  cases, 
and  with  the  same  result  as  occurring  in  the  Massachusetts  General 
Hospital,  with  the  addition  of  cases  of  midwifery,  in  which  it  prevents 
the  sensation  of  pain,  without  retarding  delivery. 

Very  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 

One  of  the  Surgeons  of  the  Mass.  Gen.  Hospital. 

[Extract  of  a  letter  from  S.  Mason  Warren,  M.  D.,  of  Boston.] 

Sulphuric  ether  and  strong  chloric  ether,  are  used  at  the  Massachu- 
setts General  Hospital.    Chloroform  is  not  used. 

The  above  substances  are  used  in  almost  every  surgical  operation,  and 
in  many  diseases  attended  with  severe  pain.  I  have  seen  them  exhib- 
ited in  more  than  two  thousand  cases,  including  hospital  and  private 
practice,  and  never  with  any  bad  result.    By  preventing  the  severe 


shock  to  the  system  in  surgical  operations,  it  is  probable  that  they  have 
an  influence  in  diminishing  mortality.  In  surgical  operations  in  private 
practice,  1  have  used  the  chloric  and  sulphuric  ethers,  principally  the 
former;  also  in  many, obstetric  cases,  and  to  relieve  suffering  in  pain- 
ful diseases,  often  as  a  substitute  for  opium  ;  and  I  believe  them  to  be 
used  by  most  other  practitioners  of  Boston  and  the  vicinity,  for  the  same 
purposes,  and  virith  a  satisfactory  result. 

Very  respectfully,  yours, 

One  of  the  Surgeons  of  the  Mass.  Gen.  Hospital. 
Hon.  W.  H.  BissELL. 

[Extract  of  a  letter  from  John  Ware,  M.  D.,  of  Boston.'] 

Their  most  important  use  is  in  the  practice  of  midwifery.  They  are 
employed  ver}^  generally  in  severe,  protracted,  and  dangerous  cases. 
My  belief  is,  from  my  own  experience,  and  from  the  concurrent  testi- 
mony of  all  practitioners  with  whose  opinions  I  am  conversant,  that  they 
not  only  diminish,  and  sometimes  annihilate,  the  suffering  which  is  at- 
tendant on  pai-turition,  but  that  they  lessen  also  the  dread  of  it,  which 
is  so  strong  a  feeling  in  the  minds  of  females ;  and  further,  that  they  ren- 
der patients  less  liable  to  the  subsequent  ill  effects  of  severe  labors,  es- 
pecially those  in  which  the  use  of  instruments  are  necessary. 

I  have  employed  or  seen  them  emiployed  in  asthma,  tn  croup,  in  con- 
vulsions of  children  and  adults,  in  neuralgia,  in  the  spasmodic  affections 
of  fever,  and  in  many  other  cases  of  a  more  indefinite  character,  into  the 
description  of  which  it  is  not  now  necessary  to  your  purpose  to  enter.  I 
have  also  employed  them  with  signal  advantage  to  alleviate  the  suffer- 
ings which  occur  toward  the  close  of  life,  or  in  the  act  of  death,  in  pa- 
tients who  have  had  irrecoverable  diseases. 

Their  introduction  is  regarded  by  all  practitioners  within  my  circle  of 
acquaintance,  whose  opinions  I  should  regard  as  of  value,  as  the  most 
important  discovery  in  practical  medicine  and  surgery,  which  has  been 
made  since  that  of  vaccination  by  Dr.  Jenner. 

I  am,  very  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 

Hon.  W.  H.  BissELL.  JOHN  WARE. 

[Extract  of  a  letter  from  J.  S.  Jones,  M.  D.,  of  Boston.] 

In  the  private  practice  in  my  vicinity  the  use  of  these  anaesthetic 
agents  is  quite  common  in  dentistry,  in  midwifery,  and  scarcely  any  ope- 
ration of  surgery  is  performed  without  its  use.  The  reduction  of  dislo- 
cations and  the  adaptation  of  fractured  bones,  are  materially  aided  by 
the  effects  of  ether,  besides  the  freedom  from  suffering  enjoyed  by  the 
injured  person  when  under  its  effects. 

Respectfully,  yours, 
Hon.  W.  H.  BissELL.  J-  S.  JONES. 

[Extract  of  a  letter  from  Z.  B.  Adams,  M.  D.,  of  Boston.] 
It  is  almost  uniformly  used,  both  in  public  and  private  practice,  i 
dentistry,  in  midwifery,  and  in  all  surgical  operations ;  also  to  caus 


muscular  relaxation  in  the  reduction  of  hernia ;  has  been  eminently  suc- 
cessful in  cases  of  cpnvulsions  after  delivery,  and  in  alleviating  the  ex- 
crutiatino-  pain  caused  by  the  passage  of  calculi  through  the  ureters.  It 
is  an  exceedingly  rare  thing  to  hear  of  any  dangerous  or  even  serious 
effects  from  the  use  of  either  ether  or  chloroform.  The  good  effects  are 
almost  incalculable. 

Very  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 
Hon.  W.  H.  BissELL.  Z-  B.  ADAMS. 

[Extract  from  a  letter  written  hy  Dr.  John  Jeffries,  Physician  to  the 
Massachusetts  General  Ilospital.l 

For  my  opinion  of  the  benefits  bestowed  upon  the  world  by  Dr.  Mor- 
ton, please  allow  me  to  refer  you  to  a  note  addressed  by  me  to  the  Hon. 
R.  C.  Winthrop : 

"  Dr.  Morton,  who  visits  Washington  to  seek  some  remuneration  from 
government  for  the  benefit  which  he  has  conferred  upon  the  country  by 
the  introduction  of  sulphuric  ether,  requests  me  to  express  to  you  my 
opinion  (which  I  do  most  unreservedly)  that  the  world  is  indebted  en- 
tirely to  Dr.  Morton  for  the  introduction  of  this  agent  to  produce  insen- 
sibility to  pain,  and  that  it  is  a  physical  blessing  not  second  to  any  that 
has  been  conferred  upon  suffering  humanity. 

■ff... "  I  sincerely  hope  that  Dr.  Morton  will  receive  some  remuneration  for 
his  very  great  benefaction. 

"  With  high  respect,  your  obedient  servant, 
"  Hon.  R.  C.  Winthrop.  JOHN  JEFFRIES. 

"  Speaker  of  the  House  of  Representatives." 

Oliver  W.  Holmes,  the  distinguished  Poet,  and  a  Physician  to  the 
Massachusetts  General  Hospital,  held  the  following  language  in  an 
opening  address  of  the  Medical  College,  Boston : 

''The  knife  is  searching  for  disease, — the  pulleys  are  dragging  back 
dislocated  limbs, — nature  herself  is  working  out  the  primal  curse,  which 
doomed  the  tenderest  of  her  creatures  to  the  sharpest  of  her  trials;  but 
the  fierce  extremity  of  suffering  has  been  steeped  in  the  waters  of 
forgetful ness,  and  the  deepest  furrow  in  the  knotted  brow  of  agony  has 
been  smoothed  for  ever." 

Again,  in  a  communication  to  the  Hon.  Isaac  E.  Morse,  he  says : 

"It  is  a  notorious  and  wholly  undisputed  fact  that  Dr.  Morton  in  per- 
son instituted  the  first  decisive  experiments,  at  the  risk  of  his  reputation, 
and  with  a  courage  and  perseverance,  without  which,  even  had  the  idea 
of  the  possibility  of  such  effects  been  entertained,  the  world  might  have 
waited  centuries  or  indefinitely  before  the  result  was,  reached. 

"It  is  well  known  that  Dr.  Morton,  instead  of  profiting  by  his  discov- 
ery, has  suOered  in  mind,  body  and  estate,  in  consequence  of  the  time 
and  toil  he  has  consecrated  to  it. 

"I  have  no  particular  relations  with  Dr.  Mprton,  and  no  interest  in 
conrimon  with  him  to  bias  me  in  my  opinion  and  feelings.  But,  remem- 
bering what  other  countries  have  done  for  their  public  benefactors,  and 
unwilling  to  believe  that  a  rich  and  prosperous  republic  cannot  afibrd 


and  will  not  incline  to  indulge  its  gratitude  whenever  a  proper  occasion 
presents  itself,  I  have  addressed  you  this  line  to  tell  you  that  I  think 
now  is  the  time  and  this  is  the  man. 

"Hon.  Isaac  E.  Morse.  O.  W.  HOLMES." 

{Extract  of  a  letter  from  Geo.  B.  Loring,  M.  D.,  Salem,  Mass^ 

It  is  one  month  since  I  had  charge  of  the  Marine  Hospital,  Chelsea, 
Massachusetts ;  and  any  statement  based  on  personal  experience,  must 
be  founded  upon  my  practice  there. 

In  all  operations,  in  all  painful  natural  processes,  in  all  diseases  at- 
tended with  great  local  suffering,  the  intelligent  and  philanthropic  phy- 
sician avails  himself  of  the  great  blessing.  And  while  so  much  suffering 
is  relieved,  it  cannot  be  doubted — in  fact  it  is  satisfactorily  proved  that 
mortality  attending  these  operations,  processes,  and  diseases,  is  mate- 
rially diminished. 

As  the  interrogatories  addressed  to  me  have  grown  out  of  an  inquiry 
into  the  "  claims  of  Wm.  T.  G.  Morton,  of  Boston,  to  the  merit  of  the 
discovery,"  it  may  be  proper  to  state  to  the  committee  that  its  credit 
has  been  from  the  earliest  date,  almost  universally  accorded  to  Dr. 
Morton  by  those  of  the  profession  who  have  given  it  their  careiul  inves- 
tigation. During  its  development,  the  surgeons  and  officers  of  the 
Massachusetts  General  Hospital,  examined  its  merits,  under  the  special 
guidance  of  Di'.  Morton,  and  with  a  full  recognition  of  his  sole  agency 
in  the  practical  experiments  which  were  leading  to  its  establishment. 
And  now  that  those  events  have  passed  into  history,  the  Histoi'ioe  of  the 
hospital,  records  as  a  fact  fixed  by  all  reliable  testimony,  that  Dr.  Morton 

is  the  discoverer.  ....  n  ■,  . 

It  should  be  borne  in  mind  that  this  is  the  verdict  of  the  immediate 
locality  in  which  the  discovery  was  made ;  and  any  recognition  from 
abroad  of  Dr.  Jackson'^  claims  to  it  is  no  more  than  should  be  expected 
from  the  scientific  world  towards  any  pertenacious  and  untiring  claim- 
ant holding  his  high  position,  be  the  claims  true  or  false. 

Hon.  W.  H.  BissELL.    GEO.  B.  LORING. 

[Extract  from  a  letter  written  by  Dr.  Francis  Boott,  of  London.'] 
"  I  was  much  interested  in  the  discussion  of  the  Ether  question,  and 
PTiterelv  agree  with  you  in  your  conclusion.  I  should  say,  as  in  the 
ra^P  of  the  vacht-race,  'Morton  is  first,  and  Jackson  no  where.  I  am 
fflad  to  find  you  are  making  a  gallery  of  portraits  of  your  benefactors 
and  distinguished  medical  men,  and  ^Morton's  should  be  among  them. 
/  still  hope  Congress  will  reward  him." 
Hon.  W.  H.  BissELL. 

[Extract  of  a  letter  from  S.  Paris,  M.  D.,  of  Greensboro,  Alabama.'] 
The  medical  faculty  appreciate  it  highly,  and  seem  at  a  loss  to  know 
how  thev  would  pracrice  without  it,  nor  could  a  man  be  sustained  by  his 
medical  brethren  or  the  community,  who  would  refuse  to  use  it.    In  fine, 
[r?s  to  the  medical  profession  the  ^-^^-^  "j^l^^^^^^^^^ 
hardly  excepting  quinine.  V  ery  ^espectmn.^ 

Hon.  W.  H.  BissELL. 


[Extract  of  a  letter  from  James  Ayer,  M.  D.,  of  Boston.'] 

The  cases  in  which  they  are  more  especially  employed,  are  in  nearly 
all  sur"-ical  operations  where  suffering  is  an  attendant ;  in  surgical  dis- 
eases generally  painful,  and  frequently  protracted.  They  are  also  used 
in  diseases  of  a  spasmodic  character,  as  cholera,  cramps,  colic,  asthma, 
and  in  rheumatism  and  neuralgia.  A  great  variety  of  cases  in  mid- 
wifery, as  well  as  hysteria  and  convulsions,  and  many  other  painful  dis- 
eases which  might  be  added  to  this  list,  are  very  essentially  relieved  by 
these  remedies.  Your  obedient  servant, 

Hon.  W.  H.  BissELL.  JAMES  AYER. 

[Extract  of  a  letter  from  P.  M.  Crane,  M.  D.,  of  East  Boston.l 

In  nearly  all  the  operations  of  surgery  which  are  likely  to  be  attended 
with  pain,  either  chloric  ether,  sulphuric  ether,  or  chloroform,  are  used. 
So  uniform  is  the  belief  in  their  utility,  that  no  surgeon  at  the  present 
time  would  do  without  them.  In  obstetric  practice  they  are  also  exten- 
sively used  where  cases  occur  requiring  instrumental  interference,  but 
are  not  much  employed  in  natural  labor. 

With  much  respect, 
Hon.  W.  H.  BissELL.  P.  M.  CRANE. 

[Extract-of  a  letter  from  John  H.  Dix,  M.  D.,  of  Boston.] 

In  all  painful  operations  upon  the  globe  of  the  eye  and  its  appenda- 
ges, these  agents  afford  incalculable  relief,  both  physically  and  mentally. 
The  severe  operations  upon  the  internal  textures  of  the  globe  of  the  eye, 
not  in  themselves  painful,  but  requiring  for  their  satisfactory  p'erform- 
ance  absolute  immobility  of  the  organ,  these  agents  insure  what,  in 
young  subjects  especially,  was  heretofore  only  approximated  to. 

In  the  few  operations  of  ophthalmic  surgery  which  endanger  life,  I 
find  from  the  use  of  these  agents  a  diminished  tendency  to  inflammatory 
action  within  the  cranium,  and  therefore  less  hazard  to  life.  In  aural 
surgery,  though  not  frequently  required,  anaesthetic  agents  are  of  great 
value,  chiefly  in  the  removal  of  morbid  growths  from  the  external  or 
internal  ear.  I  believe  that  no  other  discovery  in  the  whole  range  of 
medicine  and  surgery,  (with  the  exception,  perhaps,  of  vaccination,)  has 
in  the  same  time  contributed  so  much  to  relieve  suffering  and  prolong 
life.  Yours,  respectfully, 

Hon.  W.  H.  BissELL.  JOHN  H.  DIX. 

[Extract  of  a  letter  from  John  Appleton,  M.  D.,  West  Newhurg.  Mass.] 
I  have  lately  observed  good  effect  follow  the  inhalation  of  chloroform 
during  a  paroxyism  of  severe  suffering  from  dysmenorrhea,  in  which 
relief  was  almost  instantaneous. 

It  is,  however,  in  obstetric  practice  that  I  have  most  frequently  used 
these  valua.ble  agents,  and  1  regard  their  usefulness  in  this  relation  as 
among  the  most  valuable  results  of  their  discovery.  ' 
Respectfully,  yours,  &c., 

„     w  IT  JOHN  APPLETON. 

Hon.  W.  H.  BissELL. 


[Extract  of  a  letter  f  rom  L.  B.  Morse,  M.  D.,  Boston,  3Iass.] 
They  are  used  in  most  cases  of  important  or  capital  surgery,  in  many 
cases  of  delerium  tremens,  tetanus,  and  similar  neuralgic  diseases,  and  in 
dental  surgery,  also,  by  some  of  our  medical  practitioners  in  common 
use  in  midwifery. 

It  diminishes  mortality  in  three  ways:  1st.  In  severe  surgical  opera- 
tions, by  entire  relief  from  nervous  excitability  and  reaction  which  at- 
tend them ;  2d.  By  giving  time  for  the  use  of  the  knife,  and  the  careful 
completion  of  a  dangerous  operation,  in  the  perfect  quietude  of  the 
patient;  3d.  The  rest  secured  by  some  patients  in  certain  neuralgic 
diseases,  which  if  not  attained,  death  is  the  result. 
I  am,  sir,  your  obedient  servant, 

L.  B.  MORSE. 

Hon.  W.  H.  Bissell. 

[Extract  of  a  letter  from  L.  H.  Anderson,  M.  D.,  Sumterville,  Ala.] 

I  think  aucEsthetics  diminish  mortality  in  two  ways:  1st.  By  pre- 
venting the  shock  of  pain  on  the  nervous  system ;  2d.  By  securing  per- 
fect immobility  or  the  patient,  and  enabling  the  surgeon  to  operate^more 
safely  and  exactly. 

I  am,  very  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 

L.  H.  ANDERSON,  M.  D. 

Hon.  W.  H.  Bissell. 

[Extract  of  a  letter  from  S.  Blanding,  M.  D.,  Columbia,  S.  C] 

Its  use  has  induced  patients  to  submit  to  the  knife  early;  when 
otherwise  they  would  have  resulted  fatally. 

1  consider  it  one  of  the  most  important  discoveries  of  the,age  in  miti- 
gating human  suffering,  and  often  in  saving  life. 
I  have  the  honor  to  be,  yours,  &,c,, 


Hon.  W.  H.  Bissell. 

[Extract  of  a  letter  from  William  Ellis,  M.  D.,  Oglethorpe,  (?«.] 

It  is  my  deliberate  opinion,  founded  upon  experience,  that  their  eflects 
in  diminishing  mortality  is  more  than  fifty  to  one,  for,  if  properly  ad- 
ministered, the  effect  is  to  take  away  all  fear  from  the  patient,  and  ab- 
solutely free  the  nervous  system  from  irritation,  and  thereby  pr(r\'ent 
any  interruption  in  the  various  organs  in  performing  their  functions 
naturally  and  of  course  healthily. 

In  private  practice  its  most  happy  and  beneficial  eflects  is  in  obstet- 
rics, nothing  is  or  can  be  of  so  much  value  to  a  woman  in  labor  in 
proportion  to  the  difficulty  attending  labor;  so  is  its  benefits,  and  if  in 
no  other,  in  this  class  of  cases  alone,  it  is  the  greatest  discovery  in  any 
age  of  the  world  for  the  relief  of  suffering  humanity;  deprive  me  of  its 
benefits,  and  1  should  almost  if  not  altogether  abandon  my  profession. 

Hon.  W.  H.  Bissell.  WILLIAM  ELLIS. 





SATURDAY,  AUGUST  28,  1852, 




The  Senate  having  under  consideration  the  bill 
making  appropriations  for  the  support  of  the  Army 
for  the  year  ending  June  30th,  1853 — 

Mr.  BORLAND,  from  the  Committee  on  Mili- 
tary Affairs,  submitted  the  following  amendment, 
to  come  in  after  the  appropriation  for  the  medical 
and  hospital  department  of  the  Army: 

To  enable  the  President  of  tlie  United  States  to  procure 
the  surrender  of  the  patent  issued  to  William  T.  G.  Morton 
on  the  12th  day  of  November,  1846,  for  his  discovery  of  the 
unaisthetic  properties  of  sulphuric  ether,  $100,000. 

Mr.  BORLAND.  Mr.  President,  if  the  Senate 
■will  give  me  their  attention  for  a  few  moments,  I 
think  I  can  put  this  matter  on  its  true  merits. 
The  proposition  is  to  appropriate  $100,000  to  en- 
able the  President  of  the  United  States  to  purchase 
from  a  patentee  his  patent,  or  the  privilege  of  using 
property  to  which  ne  holds  exclusive  right  under 
his  patent. 

The  firstinquiry  that  we  make  is:  Is  that  which 
we  propose  to  purchase  valuable? — and,  if  it  is, 
what  is  its  value.'  I  will  not  undertake  to  go  into 
a  detail  of  facts,  or  any  argument  to  show  the 
value  of  the  discovery  of  the  application  of  sul- 
phuric ether  as  an  anaesthetic  agent.  It  is  a  sub- 
ject which  has  been  before  the  public  so  long,  that 
I  apprehend  every  Senator  is  familiar  with  its  his- 
tory, and  the  character  of  the  discovery.  I  state 
what  I  apprehend  no  one  will  controvert — I  state 
as  a  member  of  the  medical  profession,  represent- 
ing, in  that  respect,  I  think  truly,  the  universal 
sentiment  of  the  profession  throughout  the  world — 
that  as  a  discovery  beneficial  to  the  human  race, 
if  it  be  second  to  any  which  has  ever  been  given 
to  the  world,  it  is  second  to  vaccination  alone.  I 
know  that  the  universal  sentiment  of  the  medical 
profession,  so  far  as  that  sentiment  has  been  ex- 
pressed, is,  that  it  is  second  to  vaccination. 

Then,  sir,  for  the  estimation  in  which  it  is  held 
bytheofficersof  our  Government,  who  haveavniled 
themselves  of  its  use  in  the  public  service,  I  have 
before  me  letters  from  the  Secretary  of  War,  from 
the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury,  from  the  Secretary 
of  the  Navy,  from  the  head  of  the  Medical  Depart- 
ment of  the  Navy,  and  from  the  head  of  the  Med- 

ical Department  of  the  Army — all  concurring  in 
assigning  to  this  discovery,  as  used  in  the  public 
service,  the  very  highest  value;  and  expressing  the 
wish ,  that  the  Government  might,  by  proper  means, 
avail  itself  of  the  right  to  use  it  in  the  public  service. 
I  will  not  read  these  letters.  It  would  occupy  too 
much  time  of  the  Senate  to  do  so.  But  if  anj^ 
Senator  should  desire  their  reading,  they  can  br 
read.  All  assume,  that  it  is  of  the  very  highes: 
value,  both  to  the  Army  and  Navy;  that  it  ha?, 
been  availed  of  for  years  past;  and  that  incalculable 
benefits  have  resulted  to  the  public,  in  saving  life 
and  allaying  human  suffering,  greater  than  has 
ever  been  derived  from  any  one  source.  It  is  a 
welhknown  fact,  that,  in  the  Army  and  Navy,  in 
the  performance  of  all  important  surgical  opera- 
tions, this  agent  is  now  very  rarely,  if  ever  dis- 
pensed with.  And  not  only  so,  in  the  Army  and 
Navy — not  only  is  it  used  in  saving  life  anti  suf- 
fering on  the  part  of  our  soldiers,  and  our  sailors, 
but  throughout  the  private  practice  of  the  country, 
the  most  eminent  surgeons  and  physicians  resort 
to  it  now  habitually,  and  declare  that  it  has  be- 
come one  of  the  most  important  and  valuable  agents 
which  they  have  in  the  profession.  If  there  were 
time,  I  could  go  on  for  hours  in  giving  the  partic- 
ulars, giving  the  modus  operandi,  giving  the  cases 
by  name,  and  by  number,  till  they  would  count 
thousands  upon  thousands;  but  there  is  no  time 
at  this  period  of  the  session  for  that. 

The  next  point  I  would  present  is,  how  far  it 
is  recommended  to  our  consideration The  Select 
Committee  of  the  House  of  Representatives,  to 
whom  this  matter  was  referred — although,  as  the 
Senator  from  Connecticut  suggests,  they  did  not 
formally  make  their  report,  yet  it  was  only  be- 
cause no  opportunity  was  afforded  for  them  to 
do  so — have  prepared  a  report — it  is  here  be- 
fore me — a  most  elaborate,  learned,  and  conclusive 
report  as  to  the  incalculable  value  of  this  ao-ent, 
and  the  propriety,  in  the  opinion  of  that  conimit- 
tee,  of  its  being  availed  of  by  the  Government. 

Sir,  it  may  be  asked  if  this  be  so  valuable  if 

this  individual  has  a  patent  for  it,  why  does  he 
not  avail  himself  of  the  use  of  the  patent,  and  prr 


vent  the  use  of  sulphuric  ether  as  an  anccsthetic 
agent  williout  recompense  to  him  ?  I  need  Imrdly 
remind  the  Senate  of  the  fact,  that  it  is  one  of 
those  cases  in  which  he  cannot  enforce  his  legal 
rights.  How  can  he,  sir?  Why,  this  agent  is 
used  in  every  State  and  county  in  this  Union;  and 
it  may  be,  and  perhaps  is,  used  in  ahnosl  every 
family  where  physicians  |iractice.  He  has  no 
practical  remedy  for  the  violation  of  his  patent. 
Caji  he  go  to  the  bedside  of  the  sick  and  suffering 
patient,  who  is  undergoing  an  operation  under  the 
influence  of  this  agent,  and  lay  an  injunction  upon 
its  use  on  such  an  occasion?  Certainly  not.  It 
is  one  of  those  cases  which  must  strike  the  mind 
of  every  man  that  his  patent,  so  far  as  the  legal 
remedy  extends,  is  worthless  to  him,  although  he 
has  the  legal  right,  for  he  holds  the  patent  from 
the  United  States  to  its  exclusive  use  for  a  certain 
term  of  years. 

The  next  question  is.  Is  the  individual  who 
holds  the  patent  lawfully  entitled,  if  any  one,  to 
be  paid  for  the  use  of  this  agent  ?  I  say,  he  is.  I 
have  before  me  here  a  copy  of  his  patent,  and  of 
the  record  in  our  Patent  Office.  The  official  acts 
of  our  officers  have  recognized  and  established,  as 
oitr  laws  require,  the  identity  of  this  individual  as 
the  lawful  owner.  It  has  been  stated,  I  know,  and 
may  be  repeated, that  there  is  an  adverse  claimant; 
that  there  is  another  individual  who  claims  to  be  the 
discoverer,  and  who  has  a  title  to  at  least  a  portion 
of  the  compensation  which  we  propose  to  pay.  But 
to  meet  that  I  have  to  show  that  if  that  individual 
ever  had  any  right  to  be  considered  the  discoverer, 
orany  title  to  compensation,  it  has  been  relinquished 
for  a  consideration  in  favor  of  Dr.  Morton ;  for  here 
I  have  from  the  Patent Qffice  an  official  announce- 
ment to  that  effect, which  is  signed  by  Dr.  Jackson , 
the  only  individual  that  I  know  of  who  sets  up  an 
adverse  claim  to  this  discovery.  But  there  is  evi- 
dence before  us  from  the  very  highest  medical  men 
in  the  country, and  from  the  very  highest  medical 
officers  of  the  Army  and  Navy,  all  recognizing 
Dr.  Morton  as  the  discoverer  of  this  invaluable 
agent.  But  even  if  that  were  not  so,  the  only 
other  individual  who  sets  up  a  claim  to  it  has 
already,  in  the  most  solemn  form,  relinquished  it 
forever,  and  assigned  over  to  Dr.  Morton  all  right 
or  claim  which  he  (Dr.  Jackson)  ever  did  have 
or  could  have.  So  that  the  point  is  settled  that 
Dr.  Morton  stands  before  us  as  the  patentee  law- 
fully entitled  to  this  discovery  as  the  original  dis- 

In  the  next  place,  lest  it  might  occur  to  the 
minds  of  some  that  purchasing  the  right  from  a 
patentee  to  use  a  valuable  discovery  is  a  new  thing 
in  our  Government,  I  beg  leave  to  call  attention 
to  the  records,  which  show  that  it  is  no  new  prac- 
tice, but  for  years  and  years  has  been  repeated 
over  and  over  again.  I  will  cite  a  few  cases.  We 
paid  for  the  right  to  make  anchors  of  a  certain 
form  for  the  Navy,  $1,500;  for  the  use  of  circular 
bullet  moulds,  $5,00U;  for  the  use  of  gas  in  vapor 
baths,  |5,000;  for  elevating  and  pointing  heavy 
cannon,  $20,000;  for  the  right  to  use  patent  anti- 
attrilion  metal,  $20,000.  We  paid  to  the  heirs  of 
Robert  Fulton,  for  benefits  conferred  by  his  im- 
provements in  steam  navigation,  $76,300.  We 
paid  for  Mix's  manger  stopper,  used  in  the  cavalry 
service,  $.3,000.  We  paid  to  Dr.  Locke,  for  the 
use  of  his  magnetic  clock,  $10,000.  We  paid  to 
McCulloch  &  Booth,  for  the  right  to  use  the  im- 

E roved  method  of  refuiing  our  argentiferous  gold 
ullion,  $25,000; — thus  making  an  aggregate  of 

$165,000  paid  in  these  cases.  But,  in  addition  to 
these,  there  have  been  numerous  instancesin  which 
patent  rights,  or  tiie  privilege  of  u.sing  in  the  ser- 
vice of  the  Government  patented  articles,  have  been 
purchased  by  the  Departments,  some  of  which 
instances  I  find  cited  in  connection  with  the  report 
of  the  Select  Committee  of  the  House  of  Repre- 
sentatives, for  which  were  paid  $178,032;  making 
an  aggregate  of  $343,000  paid  by  the  United  Stales 
for  patents  and  the  use  of  patented  articles. 

Since  I  have  been  a  member  of  the  Senate,  when 
meritorious  individuals  have  come  before  us,  who 
had  made  important  discoveries,  we  have  aided 
them  to  test  their  discoveries  by  appropriations, 
amounting  in  the  whole  to  $120,000. 

I  mention  these  facts  to  show  that  precedents 
are  all  in  favor  of  sucfi  use  of  the  public  money 
to  enable  the  Government  to  avail  itself  of  im- 
portant discoveries. 

I  will  not  detain  the  Senate  by  saying  more  on 
this  subject.  I  will  briefly  sum  up.  This  discov- 
ery is  a  most  valuable  one  to  the  human  family  at 
large.  The  two  branches  of  our  public  service, 
the  Army  and  Navy,  have  availed  themselves  ex- 
tensively of  it.  It  is  one  of  the  most  valuable 
remedial  agents  that  the  world  has  ever  known. 
It  is  in  constant  and  growing  use.  This  idea 
which  we  are  thus  using,  not  only  prolongs  hu- 
man life,  and  protects  our  soldiers  and  our  sailors, 
and  all  in  our  public  service  from  immense  suffer- 
ing, but  it  is  saving,  in  that  mode  of  treating 
diseases,  thousands  upon  thousands  of  dollars 
every  year  and  every  month.  This  individual 
cannot  enforce  his  legal  rights  against  anybody, 
owing  to  the  very  nature  of  the  case.  We  are 
making  use  of  his  property  to  our  great  benefit, 
and  he  is  receiving  no  compensation  whatever  for 
it.  Then  the  papers  before  me,  as  I  have  read 
them,  show  that  he  is  the  individual  who  is  enti- 
tled to  compensation,  if  any  one,  for  the  use  of 
this  property.  We  find  that  the  practice  of  the 
Government — a  vei-y  enlightened  and  useful  prac- 
tice, in  iny  opinion — has  been  in  favor  of  appro- 
priations of  this  sort.  Then,  sir,  I  ask  if  this  is 
not  a  proper  occasion  for  the  continuance  of  this 
practice?  When  was  there  ever  before  us  a  more 
meritorious  case  ?  The  medical  profession  through- 
out the  country  sustain  me  in  the  assertion  that 
this  is  the  most  valuable  remedial  agent  that  ever 
has  been  known.  How  can  we,  then,  in  justice 
to  ourselves,  in  common  justice  to  the  individual 
who  has  furnished  us  this  valuable,  or  rather 
invaluable  remedy,  refuse  to  pay  him  for  it? 

Mr.  SMITH.  That  a  discovery  has  been 
made,  I  admit;  and  that  discovery  is,  that  the  ef- 
fect of  ether,  taken  into  the  lungs,  is  to  produce 
insensibility  in  the  human  system.  I  agree  with 
the  honorable  gentleman  from  Arkansas,  that  this 
substance,  when  taken  into  the  lungs,  will  produce 
insensibility  in  the  subject  under  the  0|ieration  of 
the  knife.  I  agree  with  him,  that  it  is  a  great  boon 
to  humanity;  but  I  deny  that  it  is  a  patentable  dis- 
covery. And  I  pledge  whatever  reputation  I 
may  have,  that  if  the  Senate  will  allow  rne,  at  the 
next  session  of  Congress,  an  opportunity  to  be 
heard  on  this  subject,  I  will  make  out  a  case  for 
the  family  of  Dr.  Horace  Wells,  deceased.  If  the 
subject  shall  then  be  referred  to  the  judgment  of  a 
committee  of  this  body,  1  will  be  prepared  to  make 
out  a  case  worthy  the  most  grave  and  serious  con- 

I  Mr.  GWIN.  Mr.  President,  as  I  formerlv  be- 
I  longed  to  the  medical  profession,  I  wish  to  indorse 


everything  that  has  been  said  by  n;y  friend  from  , 
Arkansas  in  regard  to  this  vahialile  agent.  I  con-  I 
fess  that  1  came  to  the  examination  of  this  ques- 
tion with  extreme  rektctance.  I  had  been  out  of 
the  profession  for  many  years,  and  1  attempted  in 
every  way  I  possibly  could  to  throw  it  off;  but, 
having  been  requested  by  those  whom  I  could  not 
disoblige,  to  look  into  it,  [  must  acknowledge  that 
this  is  one  of  the  most  important  discoveries  that 
has  ever  been  made  in  the  medical  profession; 
and  this  gentleman  being  the  patentee,  I  could  look 
upon  it  in  no  other  light  than  that,  as  we  have 
availed  ourselves  of  his  property — for  his  patent 
is  his  property — we  should  in  equity  and  justice 
recompense  him  for  it.  I  came  to  this  conclusion 
with  reluctance;  for  I  was  very  much  disposed, 
without  examination,  to  go  against  the  claim. 
But  having  examined  it,  I  could  do  nothing  less 
than  to  add  my  testimony  to  that  of  the  Senator 
from  Arkansas,  both  of  us  having  been  in  the 
medical  profession. 

Mr.  SHIELDS.  I  beg  to  state  how  the  matter 
came  before  the  Committee  on  Military  Affairs. 
The  subject  was  investigated  by  a  Select  Com- 
mittee of  the  House  of  Representatives,  and  I  was 
informed  that  the  claims  which  the  honorable  Sen- 
ator from  Connecticut  says  he  represents,  were 
examined  before  that  committee,  and  that  commit- 
tee has  reported.  One  of  my  colleagues  in  the 
House,  [Mr.  Bissei.l,]  a  physician  by  profession — 
and  permit  me  to  say,  not  only  an  able  physician, 
but  as  veracious  a  gentleman  as  any  in  Congress — 
assured  me  that  after  a  full  and  fair  inquiry,  insti- 
tuted by  him  and  the  residue  of  the  committee,  of 
which  the  late  lamented  Mr.  Rantoul,  who  was  a 
highly-educated  and  well-informed  man,  was  a 
member,  and  after  all  the  claimants  had  been 
heard,  and  after  an  examination  of  the  evidence, 
the  committee  had  come  to  the  unanimous  conclu- 
sion, that  Dr.  Morton  wais  the  discoverer  of  this 
great  remedial  agent.  It  is  a  subject  which  I  did 
not  very  well  understand  myself.  The  Commit- 
tee on  Military  Affairs,  therefore,  committed  it  to 
the  honorable  Senator  from  Arkansas,  who  is  a 
physician  by  profession,  and  who  understands  tlie 
whole  subject.  A  professional  gentleman  of  the 
other  House,  eminent  in  his  profession,  and  a 
highly-educated  man — a  man  of  veracity  and  hon- 
or, assured  me  that  the  committee  of  that  body  had 
thus  determined,  after  a  full  and  fair  inquiry. 

It  has  been  stated  that  this  is  one  of  the  great- 
eat  discoveries  of  modern  times.  I  believe  it  is. 
Of  that,  however,  I  only  know  this — that  if  this 
remedial  agent  had  been  known  when  the  honor- 
able Senator  from  Connecticut  says  he  understood 
it  was,  it  was  unpardonable  that  its  use  was  not 
applied  to  the  American  army  in  the  late  war  with 
Mexico.  It  was  criminal  that  it  was  not  applied, 
if  it  was  known,  and  it  was  wicked  in  that  gentle- 
man to  withhold  his  information  from  the  country 
on  .such  an  occasion  as  that;  for,  sir,  I  believe  it 
v/ould  have  saved  thousands  and  thousands  of 

Mr.  CLEMENS.    No  doubt  of  it. 

Mr.  SHIELDS.  Any  man  who  witnessed  the 
scenes  which  some  of  us  were  there  called  upon 
to  witness,  well  knows  that  such  an  agent  would 
have  saved  thousands  of  lives.  Sir,  thousands  of 
our  bravest  and  best  men  fell  under  the  pains  and 
nfllictions  that  followed  surgical  operations.  I 
have  seen  so  much  of  that,  that  I  was  rejoiced  to 
have  an  opportunity,  when  I  found  there  was  I 
such  an  agent  discovered,  to  give  it  my  support  | 

in  any  way;  and  although  I  wos  not  acquainted 
with  the  subject,  I  was  happy  to  have  it  in  my 
power  to  turn  it  over  to  the  honorable  Senator 
from  Arkansas,  who  was  acquainted  with  it.  I 
venture  to  say  that  there  is  not  a  professional  man 
in  America  or  in  Europe,  who  will  not  consider 
this  the  most  beneficial  discovery  since  the  dis- 
covery of  vaccination . 

I  cannot  tell  whether  Dr.  Morton  is  the  dis- 
coverer or  not;  I  know  that  those  who  have  ex- 
amined the  subject  thoroughly  say  that  he  is  the 
discoverer.  I  have  seen  in  addition,  for  he  has 
shown  it  to  me,  the  medal  of  one  of  the  first  med- 
ical institutions  in  the  world — that  of  Paris — ac- 
knowledging, and  in  the  name  of  France  pronoun- 
cing him  the  discoverer  of  this  agent,  and  that  he 
had  been  able — for  it  was  a  good  fortune  on  his 
part — to  make  a  discovery  which  has  been  more 
beneficial  to  humanity,  than  any  discovery  made 
in  the  medical  professions  since  the  time  of  vaccin- 

Mr.  HALE.  I  am  not  one  of  those  who  ob- 
ject to  the  proposition  on  account  of  the  amount 
of  money.  If  this  discovery  really  belongs  to 
Dr.  Morton,  it  is  no  more  than  right  that  we 
should  pay  for  it;  because,  whatever  may  be  the 
value  of  the  patent  right,  it  is  such  a  discovery 
that  he  cannot  enforce  his  patent  rights.  It  seems 
to  me  that  the  Government  of  the  United  States, 
having  granted  a  patent  by  their  own  officers,  are 
estopped  from  denying  its  validity;  and  as  the 
Government  are  making  use  in  the  Army  and 
Navy  so  extensively,  it  seems  to  me  but  fair  to 
compensate  this  gentleman. 

I  have  been  through  the  Massachusetts  general 
hospital,  where  this  remedial  agent  was  first  intro- 
duced, and  where  it  was  tested.  I  went  through 
all  the  wards  and  rooms  of  that  hospital,  and  I 
saw  every  form  of  disease  and  suffering.  I  went 
into  the  dissecting  room,  and  I  confess  my  blood 
almost  ran  cold  as  I  looked  at  the  instruments  of 
torture,  as  they  appeared  tome,  which  were  about 
the  room;  but  I  was  assured  by  the  physicians 
attending  upon  that  hospital  that,  by  the  use  of 
this  remedial  agent,  patients  were  insensible  to  the 
operation  of  these  instruments  of  torture — that  the 
effect  of  it  was  to  make  them  go  quietly  to  sleep; 
and  that  the  most  difficult  and  dangerous  opera- 
tions were  performed  there  every  day,  without 
those  on  whom  they  were  performed  being  sensi- 
ble of  them.  That  great  hospital  is  one  of  the 
finest  charities  on  the  face  of  the  earth;  and  by 
the  operation  of  this  agent  the  most  revolting  sur- 
gical operations  are  performed  every  day,  while 
the  patients  are,  as  it  were,  in  a  deep  sleep. 

I  do  not  believe  there  has  been  a  greater  con- 
tribution made  to  thecause  of  humanity  anywhere. 
I  do  not  put  this  discovery  second  to  vaccination, 
or  anything  else;  and  if  the  Senate  are  determined 
to  vote  upon  it  to-day,  I  hope  they  will  make  this 
appropriation;  and  with  my  present  convictions, 
although  I  should  be  glad  to  postpone  the  subject 
until  the  next  session,  in  order  to  avoid  all  danger 
of  injustice,  I  must  vote  for  this  appropriation.'' 

Mr.  DOUGLAS.  I  shall  occupy  but  a  few 
moments  as  to  the  cloim  of  Dr.  Wells.  I  hold 
here  a  paper  which  has  been  laid  on  our  tables, 
and  which  I  understand  to  be  an  abstract  of  testi- 
mony taken  in  the  House  of  Representatives.  I 
find  here  two  letters,  which  have  passed  between 
Dr.  Morton  and  Dr.  Wells,  putting  to  rest  the 
claim  of  Dr.  Wells,  brought  forward  by  the  Sena- 
tor from  Connecticut.    When  Dr.  Morton  made 


his  discovery,  as  he  alleges,  he  wrote  to  his  old 
friend  and  partner,  Dr.  Wells,  to  this  elTect: 

^•vir..-.L/  F.  r.  ...-^ — irt.iti  kill.  I  wmt;  lu  iMu>rin  yoii  mai 
Ilinve  (lisroviTi'd  n  prcpiiration,  liy  inlmliii!;  wliic'li,  a  |)or 
son  is  thnnvn  intn  smiiid  sleep.  The  tiinn  rcqriln^d  to 
produce  sleep  is  only  a  few  moiiieiits,  and  the  time  in 
Which  persons  remain  asle(!p  can  be  ref>ulitled  at  pleasure. 
While  ill  this  state  the  severest  surgical  or  dental  opcia- 
lioiis  may  bo  peilnrmeit,  the  patient  not  (■xperienciiiK  the 
sliKlitest  pain.  I  have  perleeted  il,  and  am  now  about 
sending  out  assents  to  dispose  of  the  right  to  use  it.  I  will 
dispose  of  a  right  to  an  individual  to  use  it  in  his  own  prac- 
tice alone,  or  ("or  a  town,  county,  or  State.  Mv  object  in 
writing  you  is  to  know  rf  you  would  not  lilte  to  visit  New 
York  and  the  other  cities,  and  dispose  of  rights  upon  shares. 
I  liave  used  the  compound  in  more  than  one  hundred  and 
si.vty  cases  in  eximeting  teeth,  and  I  have  been  invited  to 
administer  to  patients  hi  the  Miissachusetis  general  hos- 
pital, and  have  succeeded  in  every  case. 

Tlie  Professors,  Warren  and  llnyward,  have  given  rrje 
written  certiticatea  to  this  eftect.  I  have  administered  it  at 
t!ie  Iiospital  iu  the  presence  of  the  stiidenls  and  physiciau.s — 
ihe  room  for  operations  being  as  full  as  possible.  For  fur- 
ther particulars  I  will  refer  }'0u  to  extracts  from  the  daily 
journals  of  this  city,  which  I  forward  to  you. 

Respectfully  yours,       WILLIAM  T.  G.  MORTON. 

Let  us  see  what  Dr.  Wells  said  in  reply: 

Hartford,  Connecticct,  Octoher  211,  1846. 
Dr.  Morton— Dear  Sir:  Your  letter  dated  yesterday,  ia 
just  received,  and  I  hasten  to  answer  it,  for  fear  you  will 
adopt  a  method  iu  disposing  of  your  rights,  which  will  de- 
feat your  object.  Before  you  make  any  urraiigeuients  what- 
ever, I  wish  to  see  you.  I  think  I  will  be  in  Boston  the 
lirsi  of  next  week — probably  Monday  night.  If  the  opera- 
tion of  administering  the  gas  is  not  attended  with  too  much 
trouble,  and  will  produce  the  effect  you  state,  it  will,  un- 
doubtedly, be  a  fortune  to  you,  provided  it  is  rightly  man- 
aged.   Yours,  iu  haste,  H.  WELLS. 

Now,  upon  the  face  of  these  two  documents, 
I  do  not  understand  exactly  how  it  is  broadly 
asserted  here,  that  Dr.  Wells  is  the  inventor  or 
discoverer  of  this  remedial  agent. 

I  confess  that  before  I  examined  the  matter  my 
prejudices  were  against  this  claim,  until  my  col- 
league in  the  other  House,  [Mr.  Bissell,]  who  is 
a  regularly-educated  physician,  a  man  of  great 
intelligence,  who  has  had  practice  as  a  physician, 
took  it  up,  and  as  chairman  of  that  Select  Com- 
mittee gave  it  a  thorough  investigation.  This 
report  produced  entire  conviction  upon  my  mind 
that  Dr.  Morton  was  entitled  to  the  credit  of  this 

I  do  not  mean,  nor  does  that  report  mean,  that 
he  discovered  sulphuric  ether,  or  that  he  was  the 
first  man  that  ever  administered  sulphuric  ether, 
but  .simply  that  he  discovered  the  application  of 
sulphuric  ether  with  reference  to  destroying  pain 
in  surgical  operations,  and  that  he  discovered  it  to  a 
degree  and  extent  in  which  it  had  not  before  been 
administered,  and  in  which  it  was  supposed,  was 
not  safe  to  administer  it.  He  risked  his  own  life 
by  experiments  upon  his  own  person;  and  then 
he  administered  it  to  other  persons  and  ran  the 
risk  of  a  prosecution  for  malpractice  in  the  event 
that  it  should  fail.  I  became  satisfied  from  the 
testimony  that  he  alone  made  the  experiments, 
and  he  alone  introduced  it  to  the  public;  that  he 
introduced  it  first  into  the  general  hospital  of 
Massachusetts,  and  from  there  to  the  world;  that 
he  took  the  entire,  .sole,  and  exclusive  responsi- 
bility of  the  use  and  introduction  of  this  agent, 
until  its  entire  success  had  been  established. 

I  also  find  from  the  report,  that  while  these  ex- 
periments were  going  on — while  it  was  doubtful 
■whether  they  would  prove  successful — Dr.  Jfick- 
son  was  ridiculing  and  denouncing  Dr.  Mortoii  ns 
a  reckless  man,  who  was  hazarding  the  life  of  his 
patients  by  administering  this  agent  to  them,  and 

that  he  never  set  up  his  claim,  although  experi- 
ments were  being  made  in  the  immediate  vicinity 
of  his  own  house,  until  after  those  experiments 
had  proven  successful,  and  the  judgment  of  the 
world  was  about  to  be  pronounced  in  favor  of  Dr. 
Morton,  and  of  this  invention  that  had  been  made 
by  hini. 

I  find  this  in  the  report  of  the  committee  of  the 
House  of  Representatives,  and  I  understand  that 
both  parties  were  represented  before  that  commit- 
tee. Taking,  then,  the  report  of  that  committee, 
before  whom  both  parties  were  represented  in  per- 
son, and  by  their  counsel,  where  testimony  was 
adduced,  and  taking  tliat  report  in  connection  with 
the  judgment  of  the  general  hospital  of  Massachu- 
setts, where  the  first  experiments  were  made,  and 
taking  all  the  testimony  together,  I  cannot  doubt 
that  the  credit  is  solely  due  to  Dr.  Morton. 

Mr.  WALKER.  Mr.  President,  I  will  ask 
the  attention  of  the  Senate  for  a  very  fewmoments, 
I  profess  to  be  one  who  has  looked  into  this  matter 
from  its  foundation  to  its  capstone.  I  have  read 
everything  that  has  been  printed;  everything  that 
is  extant  on  the  part  of  both  parties;  and  I  believe 
everything  which  they  have  in  manuscript. 

After  Dr.  Morton  had  administered  this  anajs- 
thetic  agent  in  his  dental  establishment,  he  imme- 
diately resorted  to  the  Massachusetts  general 
hospital.  He  got  the  consent  of  .such  men  as 
Dr.  Warren,  Dr.  Hay  ward,  and  Dr.  Bigelow, 
that  he  might  there  administer  it  in  a  capital  oper- 
ation. That  operation  was  performed  on  the  16th 
of  October,  1846.  Again  he  performed  an  opera- 
tion on  the  17th  of  October,  and  so  he  continued 
down  to  the  2d  January,  1847,  when  these  sur- 
geons say  was  the  first  they  ever  heard  of  the 
claim  of  Dr.  Jackson.  The  most  distinguished 
medical  men  in  America  swear  and  certify  to  this. 
But  this  is  not  all.  This  matter  underwent  a  seri- 
ous and  candid  investigation  before  the  medical 
men,  the  surgeons,  and  trustees  of  that  institution, 
and  they  came  solemnly  to  the  conclusion,  first, 
that  Dr.  Jackson  had  never  made  any  discovery 
in  regard  to  ether  which  had  not  been  known  long 
before.  Second,  that  Dr.  Morton  did,  in  1846, 
manifest,  and  make  plain,  and  publish  to  the 
world,  that  sulphuric  ether,  adiuinistered  in  proper 
quantities  and  in  a  proper  manner,  would  produce 
entire  insensibility  to  any  operation.  They  also 
decided  most  solemnly  against  the  claims  of  Dr. 
Wells.  Not  only  is  that  so,  but  we  have  here 
under  the  hand  of  Dr.  Wells,  an  acknowledgment 
that  the  discovery  was  Dr.  Morton's.  Dr.  Wells 
not  merely  acknowledged  it  to  be  Dr.  Morton's 
discovery,  but  gave  him  advice  about  it,  and  said 
it  would  be  a  fortune  to  him  if  he  managed  it 

Did  the  general  hospital  of  Massachusetts  stop 
there.'  No,  sir.  Dr.  Jackson  came  forward  before 
those  great  men,  and  expressed  his  dissatisfaction 
at  the  decision  which  they  had  made.  He  prayed 
that  they  might  review  their  decision,  and  at  his 
request  they  did  review  it,  one  year  afterwards, 
and  Clime  solemnly  again  to  the  decision  to  which 
they  had  previously  come.  This  was  in  Boston, 
where  the  parties  lived.  This  decision  wasarrived 
at  by  the  most  scientific  men  of  the  continent  of 
America,  if  not  of  the  world.  They  reviewed 
their  decision,  had  the  claims  again  laid  before 
them,  and  came  again,  solemnly,  to  the  same  con- 

In  the  mean  time,  however,  and  while  Dr.  Jack- 
son was  denouncing  Dr.  Morton  as  a  "  reckless" 


man;  as  one  who  had  made  no  discovery  whatever, 
and  who  would  kill  somebody  if  he  did  not  stop 
his  experiments,  wrote  a  letter  to  M.  Elie  de  Beau- 
mont, of  the  Academy  of  Arts  and  Sciences  of 
Paris.  I'hat  letter  was  sent  under  secret  seal,  and 
it  was  dated  November  13,  1846,  just  at  the  very 
time  when  he  was  denouncing  Dr.  Morton  as  a 
reckless  wretch  who  would  kill  somebody.  He 
sent  that  letter,  with  a  request  that  it  should  not 
be  opened  until  he  gave  further  information  in 
regard  to  it.  The  investigation  went  on  before 
these  daring  men  of  the  Massachusetts  general 
hospital,  and  by  Dr.  Morton,  no  less  daring,  until 
the  2d  of  November,  1846;  and  in  this  country. 
Dr.  Jackson  was  never  heard  of  as  claiming  the 
discovery  before  that  time.  In  December,  1846, 
he  wrote  another  letter,  requesting  M.  De  Eeau- 
mont  to  open  the  sealed  package.  He  opened  it 
and  read  it,  and,  on  the  spur  of  the  occasion, 
M.  Velpeau  answered  it  with  a  sneer,  and  said: 

"The  sfii-ret  contained  in  the  note  wliicli  lias  been  read 
is  no  longer  a  secret;  llie  medical  jouinals  publislied  in 
America  and  England  iiave  divulged  it  in  the  months  of 
November  and  December.  A  letter  from  Dr.  Whrren,  of 
Boston,  communicated  the  information  to  me  more  than  one 
month  ago;  and  Dr.  Willis  Fislier,  of  the  same  city,  pro- 
posed that  1  should  try  its  eSects  at  La  Chaiile  towards  the 
middle  of  last  December." 

That  letter  of  Dr.  Jackson's  was  thus  answered 
by  a  no  less  distinguished  man  than  M.  Velpeau, 
before  the  Academy  of  Arts  and  Sciences  in  Paris. 
But  this  secret  letter  had  a  fatal  effect — an  effect 
which  I  am  .sure  the  Academy  of  Arts  and 
Sciences  never  ceased  to  regret.  What  did  it  do.' 
It  procured,  upon  the  excitement  of  the  moment, 
a  decision  of  the  Academy  of  Arts  and  Sciences 
of  France,  awarding  to  Dr.  Jackson  twenty-five 
hundred  francs,  being  one  of  the  Monthyon 
prizes  of  that  institution,  and  he  received  the 
money.  But  when  the  good  Dr.  Warren,  and 
Dr.  Hay  ward,  and  Dr.  Bigelow.and  others  of  the 
Massachusetts  general  hospital,  who  knew  all 
about  it,  placed  this  persecuted  man.  Dr.  Morton, 
before  the  world,  and  established  his  claim,  what 
did  the  Academy  of  Arts  and  Sciences  do  ?  We 
know  it  is  the  nature  of  that  institution  never  to 
take  back  anything  which  it  does.  It  wili  not 
acknowledge  fallibility;  but  it  went  to  the  extent 
to  which  it  could  go.  It  awarded  to  Dr.  Morton 
another  prize  of  the  Monthyon  foundation,  of 
twenty-five  hundred  francs — as  what.'  Just  for 
-what  Pulton  was,  just  for  what  Jenner,  the  dis- 
coverer of  vaccination,  was,  and  for  what  all  other 
men  are,  who  come  before  the  world  making  dis- 
coveries. The  Academy  of  Arts  and  Sciences 
gave  him  this  Monthyon  prize  for  being  the  man 
•who  had  discovered,  and  made  beneficial  to  the 
world,  the  use  of  sulphuric  ether  as  an  anajsthetic 

Notwithstanding  that  Dr.  Morton  had  to  fight 
the  medical  and  literary  magazines  of  the  country 
—notwithstanding  he  had  to  fight  Dr.  Jackson, 
and  almost  everybody  else— for  nearly  all  the  sur- 
geons in  the  country,  except  those  in  the  Massa- 
chusetts general  ho.ipital,  frowned  upon  him— 
notwithstanding  all  this  reduced  him  to  poverty; 
yet.'hke  a  noble  man,  as  he  is,  lie  declined  to  re- 
ceive the  two  thousand  five  hundred  francs  in 
money.  Still,  so  anxious  was  the  Academy  of 
Arts  and  Sciences  to  place  in  his  hands  evidences 
of  their  exalted  recognition  of  his  rights,  thatthey 
directed  a  certain  portion  of  the  fund  to  be  paid  in 
the  shape  of  their  largest  gold  medal.  That  did 
not  exhaust  the  entire  fund,  and  the  friends  of 

Dr.  Morton  in  France  took  the  balance  of  it  and 
used  it  in  inclosing  the  medal  in  a  beautiful  gold 
frame,  so  that  it  altogether  now  presents  the  beau- 
tiful thing  which  I  hold  in  my  hand,  [exhibiting 
it  to  the  Senate.]  Dr.  Morton  would  not  receive 
the  money,  but  he  received  that  which  he  could 
treasure  in  his  heart,  and  could  look  upon  as  an 
evidence  of  the  appreciation  of  his  exertions  by 
this  noble  Academy  of  Arts  am!  Sciences  of  Paris. 
It  is  a  noble  appreciation  of  liim  who  gave  this 
irivaluablediscovery  to  the  world.  Itshows  whom 
they  considered  as  the  real  discoverer. 

When  you  come  to  look  at  the  testimony  oa 
which  the  claim  of  Dr.  Jaclison  is  based;  when  you 
come  to  inquire  really  what  it  is,  it  would  seem 
most  astounding  thatany  one  in  the  world  should 
come  forward  with  such  a  claim.  What  was  it.' 
At  he  claimed  nothing  more  than  that  he  had 
told  Dr.  Morton  that  ether  could  be  taken  safely  into 
the  lungs.  Anybody  in  the  world  could  have  told 
him  that.  This  substance  had  been  known  since 
the  thirteenth  century.  Its  formation  was  accu- 
rately described  by  Valerius  Cordus,  in  the  six- 
teenth century.  Probenius  first  designated  it  ether, 
and  published  an  account  of  it  in  the  philosophical 
transactions  in  1730.  Its  use  as  a  medical  agent, 
first  alluded  to  by  Valerius  Cnrdus,  and  mentioned 
by  Hoffman,  Cullen,  Alston,  Lewis,  and  Monroe, 
and  other  writers  of  the  last  century,  has  long  been 
familiarly  known.  The  history  of  its  use  by  in- 
halation, commenced  with  the  pamphlet  published 
in  1795,  by  Richard  Pearson;  gnd  several  commu- 
nications from  the  same  Dr.  Pearson  are  to  be 
found  in  the  work  of  Dr.  Beddoes  on  Factitious 
Airs,  published  at  Bristol,  England,  in  1796.  The 
same  work  contains  a  letter  from  one  of  Dr.  Thorn- 
ton's patients,  giving  an  account  of  his  use  of 
ether,  by  Dr.  Thornton's  advice,  in  a  case  of  pec- 
tonal  catarrh.  He  says,  "it  gave  almost  imme- 
diate relief  both  to  the  oppression  ajirf  pain  in  the 
chest."  On  the  second  trial,  he  inhaled  two  spoon- 
fuls, with  "  immediate  relief,  as  before,  and  I  very 
soon  after/tH  asleep."  In  1815,  Nysten,  in  the 
Directory  of  Medical  Sciences,  speaks  of  the  in- 
halation of  ether  as  familiarly  known  for  miligaling 
pains  in  colic.  For  the  last  fifty  years,  most  ther- 
apeutic authors  mention  its  by  inhalation  in 
asthma,  &c.,  as  Duncan,  Murray,  Brande,  Chris- 
tison,  Pereira, Thompson,  Barbier,  Wendt,  Vogt, 
Sundelin,  &c.  Eff'ects  analogous  to  intoxication, 
when  ether  is  inhaled,  are  stated  by  Amerid§kiu- 
thors,  as  Godman,  (1822,)  Mitchell,  (183a|R-o- 
fes.sor  Samuel  Jackson,  (1833,)  Wood  &  Wche 
(1834,)  Miller,  (1846,  and  early  in  that  year.) 

Dr.  John  C.  Warren,  in  his  work  on  Etheriza- 
tion, says:  i 

"  The  general  properties  of  ether  have  been  known  for 
inore  than  a  century,  and  theelTeet  of  ita  inhalation,  in  pro- 
ducing exhilaration  atiri  iiisensibilitv,  hn.s  been  understood 
I  t  many  ypars,  not  only  bv  the  scientific,  but  by  youne  men 
in  CO  Icgfls  and  schools,  ami  in  the  siiop  of  Ibr  apothecary. 
WHO  have  frequently  employed  it  for  those  purposes," 

From  the  days  of  Hippocrates  down,  there  has 

been  an  effort  to  obtain  an  ann;sihetic  agent  

something  to  lull  the  patient  in  surgical  operations. 
L>ut  until  Dr.  Morton,  with  what  physicians  termed 
a  daring  spirit,  came  forward  and  demonstrated  it 
to  the  world,  the  right  agent  had  never  been  found, 
t  here  is  among  the  testimony,  the  certificate  of 
the  person  on  whom  theairent  was  first  employed 
Dr.  Morton  first  extracted  teeih  in  this  way  He 
then  went  to  Dr.  Warren,  and  got  him  to  consent 
to  perforin  a  surgical  operation  upon  a  imtient, 
rendered  insensible  by  this  agent,  which  he  did 


perform  on  the  IGth  of  October,  1846.  Dr.  Mor- 
ton repeiUed  hia  experiments  in  surg;ical  opera- 
tions at  the  hospital,  on  the  ITih-of  October,  and 

'  continually  from  that  day  down  to  the  2d  of  Jan- 
uary, 1347,  when  Dr.  .Tackson  first  made  known 

I    that  he  ever  had  any  claim. 

j       The  trustees  of  the  general  hospital  of  Mas.«a- 
'chusetts,  as  a  testimonial  of  the  services  of  Dr. 
Morton,  raised  a  fund  of  $1,000;  but  knowing  his 
1    sensitiveness  on  the  subject,  and  in  order  to  make 
I    the  compliment  more  acceptable  to  him,  that  there 
j    might  remain  something  connected  with  it  as  an 
;    cndurine;monumentof  theirg;ratitude,they  inclosed 
the  amount  in  a  silver  casket,  containing  an  en- 
I    graving  manifesting  their  fourth  decision,  as  you 

may  say,  in  his  favor, 
i       Again,  aa  another  testimonial,  I  may  state  that 
the  siibject  was  brought  up  in  the  Thirtieth  Con- 
;    gress,  before  a  select  committee  of  the  House  of 
Representatives,  and  with  all  the  testimony  before 
them,  they  decided  that  Dr.  Morton  was  the  dis- 
coverer.   Here,  sigain,  in  this  Congress,  after  an- 
other review  of  all  the  testimony.  Dr.  Morton 
I    appearing  before  them  in  person,  and  Dr.  Jack- 
I    son,  both  in  person  and  by  counsel,  a  select  com- 
mittee of  the  House  of  Representatives  has  decided 
Dr.  Morton  to  be  the  discoverer. 

All  that  there  is  now  to  answeragainst  his  claim, 
is  the  remonstrance  to  which  the  Senator  from 
J  Maine  has  alluded;  and  what  is  that  remonstrance? 
>  It  is  a  remonstrance  said  to  be  signed  by  one 
hundred  and  forty-four  physicians.  The  register 
of  physicians  of  Massachusetts,  shows  that  there 
are  about  fifteen  hundred  in  that  State.  Not  one 
of  these  remonstrators  was  in  the  general  hospital 
of  Massachusetts  at  the  time  this  discovery  was 
brought  out;  but  on  the  contrary,  a  great  many  of 
them  are  dentists,  who  were  personal  enemies  and 
personal  rivals  of  Dr.  Morton,  and  they  are  to  this 
day  his  personal  rivals.  At  the  time  he  was  risk- 
ing his  life  to  bring  out  this  discovery,  they  were 
denouncing  him, and  endeavoring  to  put  him  down. 
They  were  getting  up  prosecutions  against  him,  to 
drive  him,  if  possible,  from  respectable  society. 
Yet  these  are  the  men  who  come  forward  and  re- 
monstrate! But,  is  it  true,  as  the  remonstrance 
states,  that  it  is  from  "  Boston  and  its  vicinity?" 
I  have  here  the  State  record  of  Massachusetts,  and 
I  find  that  the  names  on  that  remonstrance  are 
Bcat^Ked  all  over  the  State.  There  are  three  hun- 
drei^Redical  men  in  Boston  alone,  and  here  are 
one^Widred  and  forty-four  remonstrants  from  the 
whole  State  of  Massachusetts,  and  these  are  Dr. 
Morton's  rivals — men  who  had  first  given  him 
notes,  and  then  refused  to  pay  them,  and  became 
his  enemies,  and  tried  to  make  out  that  he  had 
made  no  discovery!  The  remonstrance  is  dated 
in  February  last,  and  they  have  been  ransacking 
the  State  of  Massachusetts  from  that  time  to  this, 
to  get  up  remonstrators  against  Dr.  Morton,  and 
they  have  succeeded  in  getting  one  hundred  and 
forty-four  out  of  fifteen  hundred  in  that  State. 

We  have  two  reports  of  the  hospital  of  Maa- 
Bachusetts;  we  have  the  prize  awarded  by  the 
Academy  of  Arts  and  Sciences  of  Paris;  we  have 
the  award  of  a  casket  and  $1,000  by  the  trustees  of 
the  Massachusetts  hospital;  we  have  the  reports 
of  two  select  committees  of  the  House  of  Repre- 
sentatives; we  have  the  concurrent  voice  of  two 
committees — the  Committee  on  Military  Affairs 
and  the  Committeeon  Naval  Affairs — of  this  body; 
and  there  is  nothing  to  answer  it  but  this  simple  i 
remonstrance  of  which  we  have  heard  to-day.  | 

We  have  nothing  in  an  authentic  shape  to  contro- 
vert all  these  testimonials.  Most  of  these  remon- 
strants do  not  state  that  they  know  anything  about 
the  facts,  but  simfily  give  their  "belief"  Why 
not  go  to  Dr.  Warren,  Dr.  Hayward,  or  Dr. 
Bigelow  ?  Why  not  go  to  the  various  men  who- 
cut  off  legs  and  arms,  and  extirpated  tumors,  and 
performed  the  most  dreadful  surgical  operations 
with  the  aid  of  this  ageht,  when  Dr,  Morton  was 
making  his  first  experiments?  Why  did  not  Dr. 
Jackson  do  that?  Why  did  he  not  bring  the  names 
of  some  surgeons  to  certify  that  he  discovered  this? 
He  could  not  do  it. 

These  awards  to  Dr.  Morton,  the  concurrent 
testimony  of  all  these  individuals,  speak  a  voice 
in  America  and  Europe,  and  now  it  is  even  heard 
in  Asia.  But  why  do  we  get  up  a  controversy 
here  about  the  real  discoverer  of  this  remedial 
agent?  I  have  in  my  possession  the  original  pat- 
ent, in  which  it  is  expressly  recited  that  Dr.  Jack- 
son has  assigned  all  his  interest  in  the  matter. 
How  did  he  get  any  interest?  It  was  through  the 
mistake.of  the  lawyer  who  was  employed  in  regard 
to  obtaining  a  patent.  Dr.  Jackson  went  to  him, 
and  finding  him  employed  in  endeavoring  to  obtain 
a  patent,  observed  that  he  had  something  to  do 
with  that  matter.  The  lawyer  asked  him  what 
he  had  to  do  with  it.  "  Why,  I  told  Dr.  Morton 
that  ether  could  be  administered  with  safety." 
Everybody  knew  that  before.  But  did  he  know 
that  pain  could  be  destroyed  under  its  administra- 
tion? No,  sir.  He  does  not  attempt  to  prove  it. 
But  let  anybody  read  the  review  by  both  select 
committees  of  the  House  of  Representatives,  of 
the  testimony  by  which  he  undertakes  to  prove  it; 
and  if  they  could  ever  thereafter  believe  his  wit- 
nesses, it  is  more  than  I  could  do.  There  is  not 
one  particle  of  testimony  given,  to  prove  that  Dr. 
Jackson  ever  said  or  ever  supposed  that  ether  could 
be  so  administered  as  to  annihilate  pain.  All  that 
Dr.  Morton  wanted  to  know,  in  order  to  be  sure, 
was,  that  he  was  not  running  the  risk  of  murder. 
Dr.  Jackson  said  it  could  be  administered  with 
safety.  He  told  the  patent  lawyer  that  he  had 
something  to  do  with  it — that  he  had  given  this 
information  to  Dr.  Morton;  and  then  that  lawyer, 
Mr.  Eddy,  through  a  mistake,  not  knowing  the 
facts,  proposed  that  Dr.  .Tackson  should  have  some 
remuneration.  What  do  you  think  Dr.  .Tackson 
was  content  with,  in  the  first  instance?  Did  he 
claim  any  part  of  this  discovery? 

Mr.  Eddy  thought  that  Dr.  Morton  ought  to 
make  some  credit,  or  do  something;  and  all  Dr. 
Jackson  then  asked  was  $500  for  medical  advice; 
and,  according  to  his  own  language,  he  went  home 
and  charged  Dr.  Morton  upon  his  books  ■j.'iOO  for 
medical  advice;  and  Dr.  Alorton  executed  a  bond 
to  pay  Dr.  Jackson  $500,  provided  ten  per  cent, 
upon  the  patent  would  make  that  sum.  He  sub- 
sequently claimed  ten  per  cent,  upon  the  patent; 
and  then  claimed  twenty-five  per  cent.;  and  ulti- 
mately claimed  that  he  was  the  real  discoverer  of 
the  whole.  But,  however  that  may  be,  whatever 
straits  Dr.  Morton  may  have  been  in,  1  say, 
here  is  the  patent  in  the  name  of  Dr.  Morton,  and 
in  it  Dr.  Jackson  svirrenders  any  title  he  could  by 
possibility  have.  But,  whatever  Dr.  Jackson  may 
be  able  to  show  hereafter  that  he  is  entitled  to,  I 
shall  be  willing  to  grant  to  liim. 

I  must  make  this  further  remark:  Dr.  IVTorton 
has  been  purs\ied  in  every  step  he  has  taken  in 
this  matter.  It  is  in  evidence  before  the  committee 
of  the  House  of  Representatives,  and  they  havs 


reported  the  fact,  that  there  were  raised  in  England 
at  one  time  by  subscription  4'10,000,  for  the  dis- 
coverer of  the  aiitoathetic  properties  of  ether,  and 
the  payment  of  it  to  Dr.  Morton  was  prevented 
by  the  agitation  raised  by  Dr.  Jackson.  Dr.  Mor- 
ton has  hem  pursued  by  people  hunting;  on  liis 
track.  They  are  siill  following  him.  Here  they 
are,  now,  pursuing:  him  through  the  mouth  of  the 
Senator  from  Connecticut.  I3ut  I  do  not  blame 
liim  for  making  any  representations  he  may  see 
proper  in  regard  to  Dr.  Wells;  but  I  say  that  the 
original  claim  of  Dr.  Wells  is  altogether  refuted 
by  his  own  evidence,  and  by  his  own  advice  to 
Dr.  Morton. 

Then,  taking  all  these  public  monuments,  as  you 
may  call  them,  as  evidence  of  the  right  of  Dr. 
Morton,  running  from  1846  to  1852,  how  can  it 
be  possibly  said  that  we  are  taking  a  snap  judg- 
ment on  anybody  ?  It  cannot  be  truly  said.  This 
subject  has  been  long  considered,  and  the  judg- 
ment of  the  world  has  been  in  favor  of  Dr.  Mor- 
ton's  rights.  But  here  is  the  patent,  and  here  he 
is  the  assignee  of  any  rights  that  Dr.  Jackson 
may  have  had. 

A  proposition  now  comes  up  from  the  Commit- 
tee on  Military  Affairs  to  procure  a  surrender  of 
that  patent;  and  for  what  reason  is  that  opposed.' 
"Why,  that  by  paying  this,  we  may  do  something 
■wrong  to  some  other  individual.  Sir,  the  patent 
has  been  granted  at  the  Patent  Office.  That  is  the 
tribunal  established  by  the  Constitution  and  the 
laws  to  decide  to  whom  a  patent  is  due.  That 
institution  did  decide  the  patent  to  be  due  to  Dr. 
Morton,  and  it  was  issued  to  him,  and  any  rights 
which  Dr.  Jackson  had  in  it  are  recited  in  the 
patent  as  being  assigned  to  Dr.  Morton.  Then 
ne  (Dr.  Jackson)  ckn  have  no  claims.  But  it  is 
not  pretended  that  Dr.  Jackson  or  Dr.  Wells  have 
got  a  patent.  It  is  known  that  they  did  not  get 
any.  Dr.  Morton  has  the  patent,  and  this  appro- 
priation is  proposed  for  the  purpose  of  obtaining 
the  surrender  of  that  patent. 

Mr.  M  ALLORY.  I  am  pleased  to  have  this 
opportunity  to  manifest,  by  a  vote  upon  this  prop- 
osition, my  appreciation  of  the  importance  of  the 
subject  to  which  it  refers;  and,  sir,  if  no  voice  in 
its  behalf  had  been  hitherto  raised,  if  no  advocate 
had  ever  before  appeared  to  press  the  claims  of 
him  whose  successful  devotion,  whose  self-sacri- 
ficing labors  have  secured  for  him  throughout  the 
earth  this  heaven-born  gift — I  would  have  consid- 
ered it  one  of  the  high  privileges  of  the  place  I  oc- 
cupy to  stand  forth  in  that  attitude.  But,  sir, 
such  fortunately  is  not  its  position;  for  the  earnest 
appeals  of  men,  women,  and  children,  the  united 
and  consistent  testimony  of  the  learned  and  the 
unlettered  throughout  this  broad  land,  have  raised 
up  lor  it  here  unwavering  friends. 

This  amendment,  Mr.  President,  proposes  to 
pay  to  the  discoverer  of  the  anaesthetic  properties 
of  sulphuric  ether,  inhaled,  and  of  their  extraor- 
dinary advantages  to  medicine  and  surgery, 
$100,000,  upon  the  condition  that  he  shall  relin- 
quish it  to  the  free  enjoyment  of  mankind,  and 
abandon  all  the  rights  of  a  discoverer  and  patentee. 
If  the  question  be  asked,  What  is  the  character  of 
the  service  rendered,  what  is  the  utility  of  the 
discovery.'— the  response  comes  from  thousands 
of  our  own  fellow-citizens,  in  every  walk  of  life, 
whom  gratitude  has  made  eloquent.  It  comes 
from  the  lowly  couch  of  the  poor-house  patient, 
and  from  the  aristocratic  mansion  of  the  million- 
aire—from feeble  woman  in  the  agonies  entailed 

upon  her  first  disobedience,  and  from  the  stern, 
strong  man  writhing  in  pain.  "It  comes  from  your 
battle-fields,  froiw  your  military,  naval,  and  civil 
hospitals,  from  your  gallant  soldiers  and  sailors 
tortured  by  wounds  and  amputations,  it  comes 
to  you  from  the  practitioner  in  every  department 
of  medicine,  and  with  our  consent  the  surgeons  of 
the  Old  and  the  New  World  hail  it  as  the  great 
discovery  of  the  age.  Its  claims  have  been  ex- 
amined by  select  committees  of  Congress,  aided 
by  able  counsel,  with  an  industry  and  accuracy 
equally  honorable  to  them  and  to  the  subject.  The 
trustees  of  the  Massachusetts  general  hospital 
presented  the  discoverer  with  ^1,000  and  an  ap- 
propriate letter.  The  chiefs  of  our  own  Depart- 
ments, our  Surgeon  General,  and  the  head  of  our 
Naval  Bureau  of  Medicine  and  Surgery,  give  it 
their  unqualified  approval,  and  the  Academy  of 
Sciences  of  Paris,  after  a  thorough  investigation  of 
its  character,  conferred  upon  its  discoverer  the 
"  Monthyon  golden  medal"  as  an  extraordinary 
mark  of  its  approbation. 

Such  are  a  few  of  the  thousand  evidences  of  the 
various  characters  from  Europe  and  America  ia 
its  favor.  And  well,  sir,  does  it  merit  this  praise. 
Hitherto  the  surgeon's  skill,  though  advancing 
with  gigantic  strides,  has  been  circumscribed  and 
controlled  by  the  power  of  endurance  of  his  pa- 
tient; and  many  operations  which  comparativs 
anatomy  justifies  and  demands  for  the  salvation 
of  life,  have  been  rendered  impracticable  by  their 
tortures  upon  an  enfeebled  or  agonized  frame,  or 
by  their  violent  shock  to  the  whole  nervous  sys- 
tem; and  thousands  have  annually  perished  whom 
this  discovery  might  have  saved.  Men  of  un- 
doubted courage,  wounded  at  last,  after  facing 
death  in  many  forms,  shrunk  with  undefined  ter- 
ror from  the  prospect  which  the  cold-blooded  tor- 
ture of  the  surgeon's  knife  holds  before  theii'eyes; 
and  timid  woman,  sinking  beneath  disease,  not 
unfrequently  prefers  the  pains  of  death  to  the  un- 
told horrors  of  the  operator's  table.  But  all  this 
is  now  passed.  The  knife  has  lost  its  terrors,  the 
tourniquet  and  saw  are  regarded  without  a  shud- 
der, and  the  appearance  of  the  surgeon  tty  the 
pallet  of  the  untimely  sufferer  is  hailed  with  joy, 
for  he  not  only  banishes  pain,  but  substitutes  for 
an  anguished  frame  the  happy  dreams  of  a  joyous 
spirit.  In  the  language  of  the  venerable  and  em- 
inent Dr.  Warren — 

"A  new  era  lias  opened  to  the  operating  sur^^^^Ks 
visitations  on  the  most  delicate*  parts  are  ferl^^^^Kt 

only  without  the  agonizini?  screams  he  lias  been  aH^HI^d 
to  hoar,  but  sometimes  with  a  state  of  perfect  insen  "(ity, 
and  occasionally  even  with  the  expression  of  pleasure  on 
the  pan  of  the  patient.  Who  could  have  imapined  that 
drawing  the  knife  over  the  delicate  skin  of  the  tace  ini^ht 
produce  a  sensation  of  iimnixed  delighti" — thiU  the  aiming 
and  twisting  ofinstruments  in  the  most  sensitive  parts  might 
be  accompanied  by  a  beautiful  dream.' — that  the  contorting 
of  anchylosed  joints  should  coexist  with  a  celestial  vision  ? 
If  Ambrose  Par(!,and  I.ouis,  and  Dcssault,  and  Chesselden, 
and  Hunter,  and_  Cooper,  could  see  what  our  eyes  daily 
witness,  how  wo'uld  tliey  long  to  come  among  us,  and  per- 
form their  exploits  once  more  !  And  with  what  fresh  vigor 
docs  the  living  surgeon,  who  is  ready  to  resign  the  scalpel 
grasp  it,  and  wish  again  to  go  through  his  career  under  netr 
auspices !" 

If  I  felt  justified,  Mr.  President,  in  view  of  the 
pressing  legislation  yet  before  us,  I  would  embrace 
this  occasion  to  give  tjje  conclusive  testimony  of 
the  principal  practitioners  of  Europe  and  America 
in  its  behalf;  but  I  do  not  feel  authorized  to  con- 
sume a  moment  beyond  a  mere  reference  to  them. 
In  the  eloquent  testimony  of  Holmes  

"  The  knifo  is  searching  for  disease— tlie  pulleys  are  drag^ 



ging  bark  disloeaUMl  limhs — naltirc  liersolT  in  working  out 
the  primal  cursn,  wliioli  dooiiuul  tlie  tcndereHt  ol'  iinr  crea- 
tures 10  the  sliarpe,--!  ot'  lier  trials  ;  liul  the  (iuree  exlrcjiiiiy 
of  BUfleritii!  has  been  stepped  in  tlin  waters  of  ("orKi'tfuliiess, 
and  the  deepest  furrow  in  the  knotted  brow  of  agony  haa 
been  smoothed  forever." 

And  now,  Mr.  President,  if  it  be  difRcult  to  es- 
tablish a  standard  by  which  merit  generally  is  to 
be  rewarded,  how  utterly  impos.sible  must  it  be  to 
determine  its  proper  bounds  in  a  case  like  the  pres- 
ent, in  which  an  humble  individual  is  the  donor, 
and  the  whole  human  family  the  recipient.  His 
most  enduring  and  valuable  reward  will  be  in  the 
undying  gratitude  of  a  posterity  whose  lot  is  suf- 
fering and  pain,  and  a  supreme  happiness  flowing 
from  gratitude  to  God  for  being  made  the  medium 
of  such  a  boon  to  his  creatures.  But,  sir,  let  us 
fulfill owr  duty.  J^'e  cannot  pay  Dr.  Morion.  His 
services  are  beyond  price;  but  we  can  place  his 
future  life  beyond  the  reach  of  poverty,  and  in 
this  manner  do  justice  to  ourselves;  for,  Mr.  Pres- 
ident, to  the  living  searchers  after  truth,  as  well  as 
to  those  children  of  genius  who  are  yet  to  struggle 
in  her  paths,  and  in  the  eyesof  all  honorablemen, 
iSie  course  of  the  American  Senate  upon  this  ques- 
tion will  be  a  beacon  of  warning  or  of  hope. 

I  believe  not  the  worn-out  apophthegm,  that  Re- 
publics are  ungrateful.    Ingratitude  is  the  crime  of  i 

men,  not  of  political  organization— and  the  sons 
of  Adam  possess  in  common  the  same  virtues  artd 
vices.  But  yet,  Bir,  there  is  much  upon  history's 
page  to  justify  the  proposition,  even  within  our 
own  short  political  existence.  Tlie  graves  of  our 
revolutionary  sages  are  unknown  to  their  free  and 
happy  descendants.  No  Old  Mortality  renew* 
their  fleeting  letters;  and  the  monument  of  its 
father  and  hero  struggles  lingeriiigly  upwards^ 
stone  by  stone,  in  spite  of  their  seeming  indilTer- 

Fulton's  merits  were  disregarded;  and  he  was 
suffered  to  dieowingmore  dollars  than  would  have 
covered  him  in  his  grave.  In  pleasing  contrast  to 
this,  sir,  is  the  grant  of  the  British  Parliament  ef 
f  15(),(I00  to  Dr.  .Tenner  for  his  discovery  of  vaccin- 
ation; and  its  liberal  reward  of  discoverers  in  va- 
rious walks  of  science.  I  am  persuaded  that  the 
objection  based  upon  a  constitutional  prohibition, 
made  by  the  honorable  Senator  from  New  York, 
is  not  seriously  urged;  and  certainly  upon  one  of 
the  alternatives  suggested  by  him,  we  can  reward 
this  applicant.  I  never  saw  him  till  within  a  day, 
or  two,  and  I  know  personally  nothing  of  him, 
but  entertain  no  doubt  of  the  justice  of  his  claim, 
and  hope  the  amendment  will  pass. 



Decision  of  the  Naval  Committee  of  the  House  of  Representatives   92 

Decision  of  the  Military  Committee  of  the  Senate  100 

Decision  of  the  Naval  Committee  of  the  Senatc^v.  100 

Decision  of  the  French  Academy   T7 

»n  of  the  Select  Committee  of  the  Thirty-Second  Congress  on  Dr.  Morton's  memorial.  78 
i-,^Iedal....t   77 
of  Hon.  S.  Borland  121 

Remarks  of  tlon.  T.  Smith  122 

Remarks  of  Hon.  W.  M.  Gwin  122 

Remarks  of  Hon.  J.  Shields  123 

Remarks  of  Hon.  J.  P.  Hale   123 

Remarks  of  Hon.  S.  A.  Douglas  123 

Remarks  of  Hon.  I.  P.  Walker..   124 

Remarks  of  Hon.  S.  R.  Mallory  127